Taunton otters

For those of you not following on facebook, the link for which can be found to the right, this is a short extract from a thread of posts.

People in Taunton have been lucky enough to watch otters during the day.  The Public Facebook page for the otter group has attracted people beyond the research group.

In July, Lucy Brice posted;

Hi! Glad to find this group. I live just next to Vivary Park and have seen otters twice in the last year. Today I saw three large otters scampering up the slope in Vivary Park (between the large duck lake and the stream) while I was feeding the ducks with my children. The ducks and children were all very startled… the otters were only feet away from us – it was amazing!

In November Emma Daniel posted a photograph with the following text;

Just watched a young otter about 3pm in taunton town centre between morrisons and lidl. It was fishing under the road bridge and got a big fish and lots a little ones.

In recent weeks the increased appearance of otters during the day have been commented upon by the press.  One erroneous headline claimed, ‘first otter spotted in Taunton in living memory’.

Dr Rob Williams, chair of the group, has kept visiting the area to observe and posted the following on 19th December:

Christmas shopping was greatly improved by seeing an Otter in the middle of Taunton at 1.30 this afternoon. It swam down the Tone and up the backwater behind the museum. It seemed not to really care about the shoppers and about 10 people watching it.

and again on Christmas Eve;

Brief glimpse of the Taunton otter again this afternoon at 2.30 pm just above the footbridge connecting Woodland Gardens to what used to be Lidl. It seemed to be fishing under the overhanging bushes upstream in the swollen Tone. Unfortunately last minute shopping meant there was no time to watch where it went.

Caroline Turner posted the following on 21st December;

Saw an otter yesterday afternoon in Taunton, just as it was getting dim, in stream by Tesco’s side entrance. Watched for a couple of minutes as it caught a fish. A brilliant sight, am still excited today.

The daytime sightings of otters, who have been present in the area for many years, but previously nocturnal, has prompted discussion.

Rob Williams commented;

 I suspect they only need to be nocturnal when persecuted directly or where there are too many dogs etc. (most of the UK!). If they have no threats and the river banks here with walls and railings at the top keep any dogs away from the water’s edge, so no threats for them.

A couple of photos of one otter showed it has eye damage, possible cataract in one eye and enlarged pupil and blindness in the other.



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