Otter news on the Water of Leith
Thursday, January 11, 2018 at 2:08PM
Water of Leith

We returned from our Christmas break to the sad news of an otter discovered dead on the river back near the Longstone Inn. A member of the public reported it and we alerted the Police Wildlife Liaison who came to collect the otter and took it for a postmortem. It was a male cub aged 4/5 months old who sadly died of starvation - the summary from the postmortem is:

Based on the weight of the animal I estimate the age to be 4 to 5 months.  The animal had not fed for some considerable time prior to death as indicated by lack of food in the stomach and lack of body fat.  This alone, or in combination with stress, lead to widespread pinpoint haemorrhage in the gastric mucosa and melaena.  This failure to eat could have been due to premature separation from its mother or illness.  There was no gross evidence of the latter.  I suspect that the cold weather contributed to the death of the cub.  The loss of tissue from the feet was a post mortem event due to scavenging.

The plot was further thickened by a local man popping in to show us bushcam footage of three otters crossing his garden in Colinton above West Mills taken on 2nd January. See clip below - blink and you will miss it. It is fairly common for otter to have 2 cubs and if times are tough to focus on the cub most likely to survive, leaving the other to fend for itself. So we are hopeful that there is still a mother and cub out on the river, so keep you eyes peeled and do report any sightings to us.

Click on me to see brief Otter Video or watch the embedded clip below


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