Posted by: Jim Bell | February 21, 2011

Tame Otter, Dalbeattie.

Goldsmith, in his animated description of the otter, particularly mentions one he had himself seen, which entered a pond as often as was required, and brought out fish for the use of its master. This fact is certainly extraordinary, for although I have seen various domesticated otters, they all, so far as I could ever learn, fished furtively, and on their own account. I have been assured, however, by a clergyman in Galloway, that there was an otter in Dalbeattie, within the last few years, which purveyed extensively in the same way. Its mistress was a poor widow woman, and the otter, when led forth, plunged into the Urr or the neighbouring burns, and brought out all the fish it could find. The widow rewarded it well for its trouble, and carried the surplus home to her young family. As an animal so tractable must have been exceedingly useful, I regret to add that it was crushed to death one day by the weight of some domestic utensil it unfortunately upset, while scrambling for food.

The Fly; a Literary and Pictorial Miscellany, for 1839.

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