Otters in the Parkian thumbnail

by Ian Bushell.



“In April, looking along the banks of the Lambrok Stream, I found this little pile of broken mussel shells.  Judging by their state, they must have been there some time.”

“Interesting; the only animal I could think of that feeds on mussels is an otter.  I had seen one in the River Biss earlier that year, and they do travel good distances.

Later that month in the same area, I came across this fresh broken shell.  Was it possible that an Otter had recently been feeding in the stream?  Is the paw print next to it a dog or an otter?”



“I kept looking in the stream.  As it warmed up in May I found the first live mussels. Further searching found this empty shell. I was disappointed that such a big specimen was not alive.”



“I sent pictures of the shells and details to a friend at the Natural History Museum, who confirmed it was a swan mussel. I sent pictures of the paw print to an expert and he confirmed that it was not a dog but an otter.”



“I kept looking along the stream, now getting my eye in, and began to find a lot more mussels and, even better, they were alive. This was the largest live one I found and is probably about 60 years old.

Overall a good result, confirming for our Fauna & Flora Census that swan mussels are present, and that otters visit the site.”



      Ian Bushell

      google images


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