The summer rains brought Four dead otters.  The new Facebook group has them documented.  For those of you not on facebook the posts concerning dead otters are repeated here.  Even if not signed up to facebook click on the link to the right to sample what is on the groups public page.  There are some superb and heartening camera trap recordings to compensate for this rather gruesome collection of deaths.

Jo Pearse coordinates the collection of dead otters in Somerset, any reports or personal sightings please immediately contact Jo. Details on the ‘contact us’ page.

 

30 January 2015 – Rob Williams

2nd dead Otter of the year collected this morning on the A303 near the headwaters of the river Parret. If you find a dead otter please report it. The autopsy data we gather from them allows monitoring of the UK’s largest carnivore.

 

Dead otter Rob W

 

Rob Williams collecting a dead otter on the A303 this morning.

 

Dead otter Rob W 2

 

 

4 February 2015 – Jo Pearse

The Somerset Otter Group sadly picked up a dog otter across the border into Devon yesterday. As it was only half a mile from the Somerset county line it would have been a Somerset as much as a Devon otter. The otter came up onto the A30 from the River Yarty where it met its end. There was no apparent reason for this behaviour as no other water close by. A member of the public moved the body onto the verge to prevent further damage by motor vehicles. The otter is now being stored awaiting transport to Cardiff for post mortem. The recovery of the body has been a collaborative action with the Somerset Otter Group and Devon and Somerset Environment Agencies.

 

13 February 2015 – Jo Pearse

Yesterday, another dead otter was reported, making a total of 5 for the year so far. It was collected by a member of the Somerset Otter Group from the River Axe near Axbridge. Sadly the otter was a juvenile male, appearing in good condition. The cause of death was vehicle collision.

 

22 February 2015 – Jo Pearse

Two more otter road casualties this week, one on the A39 close to Cannington and another in Butleigh near Glastonbury.  The Butleigh otter was not too far from my own survey sites. It was a beautiful, healthy female, with just the smallest cut on her lip, so quite sad.  I was, however cheered up considerably when on an early morning walk this morning was lucky enough to watch an otter for ten minutes on a pool that had just been thawed by the morning sun.

 

30 July 2015 – Lucy Mead

A dead otter, weighing 6.75 kg, recovered from near Langport on 14th July by an Environment Agency staff member on his way to work. Collected and now stored awaiting transport to Cardiff. It was also reported by a member of the public, heartening that people are aware of the need to report and take the trouble to do so. An apparent RTA with head injury.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

2 August 2015 – Jo Pearse

Recently I rounded up the backlog of the last 18 months of Somerset’s frozen dead otters from storage freezers in West Hatch and Secret World. A grand total of 20 literally stuffed into my car. It made for a surreal and rather cold journey! Thank you to all the people that picked up otters from the road at very short notice, hopefully the post mortems will begin again in September.

DEAD1

 

23 August 2015 – Jo Pearse

The Somerset Levels are full of water – canals, ponds, rhynes and ditches. Predicting where an otter may come up and cross a road is impossible and difficult to mitigate against. Late Saturday evening following heavy rainfall a lactating female otter was hit crossing between minor rhynes. A dismal morning search for the cubs was fruitless. Thank you to the driver who called this tragic otter in. On reflection, my first time that the driver having the accident had called in. He also kindly came out to hunt for the body on the dark road.

DEAD2

 

24 August 2015 – Jo Pearse

Sadly, another dead otter early this morning was called in near Dunball Wharf, where King Sedgemoor’s Drain converges with the River Parrett, possibly forced up onto the road by fast flow under the bridge.
The otter was reported to the Somerset Otter Group and to the Environment Agency, enabling it to be swiftly removed to the transit freezer.

 

26 August 2015 – Lucy Mead

Another dead otter, this time from the River Barle. An adult male, weighing 6kg. These photos of the Barle, also taken today show the fierce water after heavy rain. Three deaths within as many days brings home how vulnerable the otters are. 15 dead otters so far this year, the number is still average for the last few years in Somerset. The numbers from January to August last year was also 15, 2013 it was 14 and in 2012 it was 12.
This otter is now safely ready for forwarding to Cardiff University. It is so important we keep recording and recovering, Cardiff discover so much about the otter. www.otterproject.cf.ac.uk Visit their website, our own website has a link.

26 August 2015 – Rob Williams

These late summer spates are always bad news.

DEAD3

 

 

DEAD4

 

 

DEAD5

 

11 September 2015 – Jo Pearse.

On Wednesday two dead otters were called in late and collected the next day by the Somerset Otter Group. It is unusual to get two on the same day, but from the condition of the bodies it was clear that one of them was older. The first was found near Edithmead, where the River Brent goes under a motorway sliproad. The second was found on a quiet road near where the River Brue rises from a spring. The river here is little more than a bubbling brook over small stones. From the photo the wear and tear on his claws can be seen.

Dead otter feet

 

11 September Lucy Mead.

Nothing unusual in otter death numbers yet this year. The average deaths recorded for August and September combined, in recent years, is about 5 deaths, we have just recorded the fifth one since 1st August 2015. 2011 had as many as 10 in the same two summer months. There are more deaths whilst a river is in spate, but flooding is not the only cause of otters crossing a road; dispersal, fighting, short cut to a pond, disturbance etc. The number of otters killed on the roads also increases as the evenings draw in and traffic is heavier when it is dark. All the dead otter data collected by James Williams will be written up and is being worked on.

11 September Jo Pearse.

It appears the otter (River Brue) was taking a cross country route to a pond. So bad timing more than anything else. Its good to know though that this otherwise healthy mature male was able to live comfortably in the headwaters.