Otters are generally well loved in Singapore. However, a recent uptick of otter attacks has caused distress to many fish owners across the island.
This time around, the slippery creatures sneaked into a home at Serangoon Gardens near Brockhampton Berwick and killed a whole pond full of koi.
But the odd part is that the otters didn’t eat the fish. Instead, they just toyed with them.
Speaking to AsiaOne, the owner surnamed Teo shared that six otters entered her home — a semi-detached house with two floors — at 5am on Thursday (March 2), and the noise woke her family up.
When the family went downstairs to investigate, they realised that the otters had “wiped out their whole pond”.
“Most of our fish had their eyes, fins and tails ripped out. There were a couple of fish who had their stomachs [ripped] out,” recounted Teo, adding that the fish were still alive when they discovered them.
Within the day, 26 out of 28 of the koi died and only two survived the attack.
The family noted that none of the fish had been eaten, and “they were all toyed with”.
Currently, the Teo family still has not figured out how the otters had entered their home as there are no holes or gaps between the walls and gates of their home’s compound.
However, they suspect that the otters had climbed over the fence from their adjoining neighbour’s house, as their pet dog had caught the otters’ scent at that particular fence.
Apart from their fish, one of their neighbours had his fish killed the same morning.
“There may be others as we were told [by another resident of Serangoon Gardens that] the otters had stayed around the neighbourhood from 5am to 7am. They were sighted at the Chomp Chomp Hawker Centre area at 6am as well,” shared Teo.
As far as Teo was aware, this was the first known attack in the area.
“The closest attack to us was at Walmer Drive last year or the year before,” she said.
The incident has been reported to the National Parks Board (NParks), but the family has yet to receive a reply from the board.
AsiaOne has reached out to NParks for more details.
Otters do eat fish too
While Teo’s koi had only been toyed with and not eaten, there have been cases where otters had devoured the fish.
Last October, Tham Yuen Ying woke up to find the carcasses of her beloved koi.
Several of the fish were also found headless around the pond.
Tham had reared the fish with her father for more than 20 years, and the fish lived in the two ponds built at the back of their Bukit Timah home.
Some otters to be relocated from residential areas: NParks
The number of otters in Singapore is steadily increasing and has grown to 170 islandwide.
To manage the otter population, NParks is taking an integrated approach that includes relocating the creatures and possibly sterilisation in the long term, reported The Straits Times last October.
The first such operation took place last October, and six otters that had taken up residence in a Seletar housing estate were relocated by NParks staff.
Before relocating the animals, NParks had “monitored these otters closely” to assess if they were suitable for transfer.
To relocate them, perimeter fencing was installed around the holt the otter had created, NParks shared with The Straits Times.
Once the otters were secured, they were transferred to an area away from human traffic and with abundant food sources.
ALSO READ: Otter attack? Hougang homeowner heartbroken after finding $50,000 worth of koi decimated
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