Otter struggles after catching a huge octopus off the Scottish coast

Otterly delicious! Greedy otter bites off more than it can chew after catching a huge octopus off the Scottish coast

  • Michelle Coyle, 58, photographed moment otter emerged from the water with the creature off coast of Oban
  • Otter struggles as its catch wraps its eight sticky tentacles around its face and head in a battle for survival 
  • The water-based mammal takes its meal underneath a rock to feast in privacy and out of sight of seagulls  

This is the moment an otter became locked in a battle with an octopus after emerging from the water with the creature wrapped around its head.

The European otter had quite the fight on its hands as the sea creature began using its eight tentacles to cover the mammal’s eyes and face in the waters off Oban, Scotland.  

Michelle Coyle, from Chorley in Lancashire, photographed the funny scene during a trip to the beauty spot with her husband.

The 58-year-old said: ‘We were watching him fishing for a while, just catching small fish and then after diving he suddenly popped up with the enormous octopus. 

An otter off Scotland’s Oban coast struggles with an octopus as it wraps its tentacles around the mammal’s face and head in an attempt to wrangle free 

The octopus covers the otter’s eyes as tourists watch on in amazement at the ongoing struggle between the two animals 

Michelle Coyle said she and her husband were watching the otter fish for a while before it emerged from the depths with the eight-tentacled creature 

‘It very quickly started wrapping its tentacles around his face, it looked to be quite a struggle for him to bring it to shore.

‘When he eventually made it he took it under a rock and stayed there for a while to eat it, presumably hiding it from the gulls.

‘We have seen otters fishing before, but never seen a catch like this.

‘It was amazing to see.’ 

The otter was lost from most of England and Wales between the 1950s and the 1970s due to the pesticide pollution of waterways. 

The otter takes a breath after eventually having made it to the rocky shore in Scotland after the octopus put up quite a fight 

The otter took its catch of the day under a rock to eat it in peace and ‘presumably to be away from the seagulls’, said the tourist who photographed the moment 

But the mammal survived in Scotland’s cleanest bodies of water in the north and west, including Oban.

Today, the species is flourishing across Scotland, where there are believed to be around 8,000 otters. 

Coastal otters are often referred to as ‘sea otters’, but they are exactly the same species as the animals that live further inland.  

Otters must keep their fur free of salt using freshwater for it to remain effective as insulation.

Why is Scotland home to so many otters?  

Scotland is home to around 8,000 otters, estimates suggest 

The otter (Lutra lutra) was lost from most of England and Wales between the 1950s and the 1970s because of pesticide pollution of waterways. 

But it survived in Scotland’s cleanest bodies of water in the north and west.

Today, the species is flourishing across Scotland, and recovering well across the UK as waterways are cleaned up. The Scottish population is estimated to be around 8000 otters.

Otters are largely solitary, semi-aquatic mammals that get most of their food from lochs, rivers or the sea. The Scottish population has an unusually high proportion (perhaps 50% or more) of coastal-dwelling individuals, which feed almost exclusively in the sea. An otter must eat around 1–1.5kg of prey daily.

Coastal otters are sometimes called ‘sea otters’, but they are exactly the same species as the animals that live further inland. Mainly active during the day, coastal otters generally have much smaller home ranges than their riverine counterparts, because of the abundance of fish and crustacean prey in inshore waters. 

Otters must keep their fur free of salt using freshwater for it to remain effective as insulation.

In freshwater, otters feed on mainly fish such as trout, salmon and eels, but also on spawning frogs and toads in spring and occasionally on mammals and birds.

Otters that live in freshwater habitats are largely nocturnal and occupy very large home ranges (around 32km for males and 20km for females).

‘Holts’ are used for shelter and breeding and may take the form of a burrow, natural hole, cave or other structure (including man-made ones). 

Otters may also rest or seek temporary shelter in above-ground structures known as ‘couches’. Britain’s otters may breed during any month of the year.

The otter belongs to the same family as the badger, pine marten, stoat and weasel, and American mink.

Source: Nature.scot 

 

 

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