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.
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org