I was amazed to find out that May 30th is World Otter Day! It means celebrating these beautiful creatures, not just drinking Otter beer, although toasting otters with Otter sounds a splendid idea. I have never actually seen a live otter… I have seen a sleek brown back disappearing into a river in Bedfordshire but that’s it.
Like many people I first came across otters in ‘The Wind in the Willows’, a marvellous book; Otter is a hero, very dashing and handsome and a very independent creature. Although I spent so much of my youth on rivers, in rivers and by rivers, it surprises me looking back that I never saw any – maybe even then the rivers were polluted. Waterways are much cleaner now which no doubt is why there are more otters.
Otters belong to a varied family of animals including badgers, martens, weasels and would you believe it, wolverines! If there was an animal remake of ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Otter would star as the good doctor and Wolverine as his evil counterpart! Their name comes from a similar sounding old English word, which came originally from the Proto-Indo-European language – the same word also became ‘water’!
Otters a beautiful magical playful creatures, and it’s horrific to think they were hunted by dogs especially bred for the purpose. Thankfully they are no protected, but sadly many are killed on the roads.