Rare otter sighting at Tophill Low water treatment works near Driffield

This photograph of a mothe and one of her cubs was taken at the Tophill Low site by nature reserve regular Roy Vincent

This photograph of a mothe and one of her cubs was taken at the Tophill Low site by nature reserve regular Roy Vincent

First published in News

AN OTTER family has been spotted playing at an East Yorkshire nature reserve where it was thought the rare breed no longer lived.

Two otter cubs – thought to be about two months old – were seen with their mother in frozen marshland at Tophill Low water treatment works near Driffield, which is also a public nature reserve.

Yorkshire Water, which runs the site, has been working over the past few years to encourage otter populations in the area, creating wetland habits which are ideal for the species.

Reserve warden Richard Hampshire believes the otter family was forced into the open by recent flooding.

“We’re absolutely delighted that all our hard-work and investment appears to be paying off, with the sighting of a female and her two cubs,” he said.

“We knew that we had a least one otter around the site, but this is the first confirmation we’ve had of a breeding success at the reserve in the last few years. Whilst nature created otters as daytime hunters, historical persecution has generally changed their behaviour and now they are only usually seen around dawn and dusk, with daytime sightings tending to be quite rare.

“We believe that the mother and cubs have had to evacuate their nearby holt after it became flooded during the heavy rain, which is why we’re seeing these cubs up and about slightly earlier than we’d normally expect.

“However, it’s common for the mother to have at least three nearby homes available to her, so any move is unlikely to be stressful and from the pictures alone, they all look to be in good health and enjoying themselves.”

He said the best place to spot the otters were at North Marsh Hide between 6am and 8am or 4pm to 6pm.

Yorkshire Water is now running a competition to name the otters. Entries currently include Ray Li-Otter, Oswald, Barry and Harry P-Otter. Can you do any better? Visit their dedicated Facebook or Twitter page.

Comments (5)

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12:11pm Fri 21 Dec 12

the original Homer says...

We call our water otter a kettle.
We call our water otter a kettle. the original Homer
  • Score: 0

7:57pm Fri 21 Dec 12

Paul Meoff says...

Must get along there and find out how wet its pocket is.
Must get along there and find out how wet its pocket is. Paul Meoff
  • Score: 0

10:01am Sun 23 Dec 12

Hicarrumba says...

I know its a rare breed but I thought they were called otters already, but I suppose Bill and Ted, then the world can brew sad when they are found to be eaten by Giles (the local fox, apparently)
I know its a rare breed but I thought they were called otters already, but I suppose Bill and Ted, then the world can brew sad when they are found to be eaten by Giles (the local fox, apparently) Hicarrumba
  • Score: 0

10:03am Sun 23 Dec 12

Hicarrumba says...

Brew ? Silly keyboard
Brew ? Silly keyboard Hicarrumba
  • Score: 0

10:33am Sun 23 Dec 12

scooterboy says...

well its nice to see you have told everyone were they are , i bet they wont be there much longer
well its nice to see you have told everyone were they are , i bet they wont be there much longer scooterboy
  • Score: 0

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