Notes from St Tiggywinkles: Otters with expensive tastes fed Waitrose fish

Otters at Tiggys
Otters at Tiggys

I remember that exciting day just over a year ago when we took on the wonder that was three baby otters orphaned by the floods.

I had treated adult otters but rearing youngsters was a truly new experience.

Thankfully, at the time, two of them took to feeding themselves on the prime trout I managed to buy that night from Waitrose in Aylesbury.

The third orphan still had to be bottle fed but soon weaned onto the trout joining the other two, wild, trying to bite the hands that fed them.

With my friends Gay and Andy Christie in Scotland I could share their experience of the specialised discipline that is hand rearing otters.

In the meantime, the three otters became really wild, as they were supposed to, eating us out of house and home with their expensive trout dinners.

We knew that we would have to provide trout for at least a year, thankfully M & J Seafoods in Aylesbury came up with a much more affordable price.

Came the turn of the year into 2015 prompting us to start arranging for a release into the wild of our wonderful visitors.

In true rehabilitation practice we had to arrange for a ‘soft’ release giving the otters a chance to become familiar with an area with the facility to return to food, if they needed it.

Site selected in a very secret, isolated stretch of woodland adjacent to a river we assembled a wire mesh pen with tunnel to constrained part of the river where they could swim.

The three were transported to their temporary home in their familiar nest box they had been using for the last year at Tiggys.

Being confined for three to four weeks before being released we went out to feed the releases each day with their preferred trout.

Soon will come the moment of truth when the gates open and the three go back to the wild!

Bon Voyage!