Monday 17th April 2017.
Photograph taken by Ian Sanderson CC:2.0.
A Labrador has been left in severe condition after encountering an otter earlier today.
The dog jumped into a drainage ditch while on a walk today in Reepham, north Norfolk when he encountered the otter.
The male otter which are known as a ‘dog o
tter’, viscously attacked the dog. The owner, Charles Austin, reports “Suddenly there was a lot of splashing and whining.
“I thought my dog was going to lose an eye. He was bitten so violently; his entire face was covered in blood”.
The dog was taken to the Emergency vet where he received a dozen stitches and an operation on his eye.
Photograph of the drainage ditch in Reepham, north Norfolk, where the incident happened. This is the first siting of an otter in this area. PC: Olivia Frost
Otter population ‘out of control.’
Paul Roberts, a north Norfolk fisherman, commented on the incident: “I am not surprised about the incident.
“Something needs to be done about the otter population in north Norfolk. It is getting out of control”.
Since 2011, the release of otters into the wild by the ‘Otter Trust conservation’ project has resulted in a massive growth in the otter population.
There are now otters in every county in the UK. As a result, otters have been travelling into newly exposed areas looking for food.
Otters ‘dangerous when approached.’
Peter Ham, chair of the ‘North Norfolk Fishermen’s Society’ said “There are a lot of open areas for food.
Photograph of the chair of the north Norfolk Fisherman’s Society – Peter Ham. PC: Olivia Frost
But otters have lost their caution of humans.
Ham expressed a great belief that the population will decrease and the incident with the dog was rare.
“People will bump into them more because of the lack of the caution. They are only dangerous when they are suddenly approached”.
Ham is still wary around the animal despite him saying they’re not dangerous: “I wouldn’t trust my dogs near them, the dog was lucky to get away with just stitches I reckon”.
Otter danger to Norfolk carp
More commonly reported is the danger otters pose for Koi carp. Otters have started to kill peoples karp ponds since the increase in population.
Otters have become a massive threat to koi carp ponds in Norfolk. PC: Bernard Spragg. CC0 1.0.
Couple, Nick and Clare Walters, from Holme-next-to-the-sea in Norfolk, had £10,000 worth of carp killed after by an otter who had taken residence in their garden.
Mrs Walters warned other Norfolk koi owners to protect their koi ponds as otters have started to migrate from the wild to gardens.
For more information on the ‘Otter Trust Conversation’ project and its impact, visit ukwildottertrust.org.