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Otter could be to blame for koi carp and goldfish stolen from pond in Oakham

When 17 koi carp and goldfish disappeared from a garden pond, owner Elaine Barton was scratching her head over the culprit.

But rather than being a hungry heron, evidence left around the empty pool seems to be pointing towards a family of otters.

Elaine, 57, who has had a pond at her home in Redwing Close, Oakham, for about six years said: “I noticed some of the fish had disappeared a couple of weeks ago, and when I fed them at the weekend and none of the food was eaten, I realised they were all gone.

Elaine Barton and her empty pond (9942725)
Elaine Barton and her empty pond (9942725)

“When I think back, I’d seen fish scales on my garden path and thought a cat had been poorly, but now I’m not so sure.

"When I turned off the air pump I could see scratch marks on the surface of the pond, which made me think it might not be a heron.

"Plus, the pond is visible from my window so I would have seen a bird."

After discussing it with a friend, Elaine watched old clips from Countryfile which showed the way otters feed.

“The fish were quite large,” said Elaine. “They measured about 35cm long and they have quite a wide girth too. The rib cages of some of the fish were about the size of a cricket ball.”

Elaine believes an otter - or a family of otters - might have come along the culverts in Oakham to eat the fish over a few nights.

However, she would like to hear from other pond owners or experts who might shed some light on the mystery - and provide tips on how to prevent it happening again.

Top help solve this pond crime, email suzanne.moon@iliffepublishing.co.uk

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