Half past ten on a cold night, I heard screeching and thrashing about in the canal outside my boat. I grabbed my torch expecting to see a muntjac maybe, a dog or even a person in trouble.
I shone the torch onto the water and two heads popped up right outside the galley window. My first thought was, ‘seals!’ Well they looked like seals with their rounded wet heads.
Of course they weren’t seals, but two male otters having a punch up outside my boat. They were fiercely biting, clawing and screaming at each other, quite oblivious to me or my torchlight. Until, that is I called Mr. O to come and look, when they suddenly realised I was there and dived off in different directions.
Otters are a rare sight, especially on the canal and I have only seen one before during the summer, lazily swimming and rolling in the water without a care in the world. These adult males were probably fighting over territory. Maybe there’s a lady otter in the area and they might have babies. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
In popular Korean mythology, it is told that people who see an otter will attract ‘rain clouds’ for the rest of their lives. Hmmm..
The mischievous god Loki killed the dwarf Otr while the latter was in the form of an otter. The dwarves were furious, and demanded compensation from the gods who gave them the otter skin filled with gold.
In ancient Persia the otter (known as the ‘water dog’), was esteemed above all other animals, and a severe penalty was imposed on anyone who killed one.
Sea otters hold hands while they’re sleeping so that they don’t float away.