Thieving otters caught on camera

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A pair of cheeky otters have been caught red-pawed at the scene of a crime after stealing fish from their own personal paradise in the shape of a 170 million gallon reservoir.

The furry culprits were captured on motion-activated video cameras set up at Yorkshire Water-owned Tophill Low reservoir in East Yorkshire after a visitor spotted one creeping towards the reservoir steps.



And staff at the reserve were amazed to have their suspicions proven to be correct after videos were recorded of the sneaky couple slinking their way up the stairs and into the water.

The curious mammals made their way from the River Hull 200 metres away, across a marsh, over a footpath, up and down two flights of stairs and into the huge expanse of water.

It’s thought they were attracted by the array of coarse fish that call the reservoir home, including rudd, pike and perch.

Richard Hampshire, warden at Tophill Low, said: “This reservoir is an ideal playground for otters, tranquil and full of fish, and I bet this pair couldn’t believe their luck when they found it.

“We’ve no idea how many times they might have been in to pinch some fish from the reservoir before we finally caught them on film but you’ve got to admire their ingenuity and it’s great to see a species that’s native to East Yorkshire continuing to thrive in the wild.”

Tophill Low recently completed work on purpose-built otter accommodation which has everything in it that the mammals might want. It’s hoped that the ‘CCTV stars’ might decide to make the 5-star accommodation their home.

Otters can be elusive animals to spot; a single female requires 4-6 miles of river habitat to breed within, and a male will hold a 10 mile territory, meaning visitors can find it a fruitless task to try and catch a glimpse of the animal.

Tophill Low is currently undergoing an £8 million investment by Yorkshire Water in a treatment plant which will remove nitrates from the raw river water which supplies the site. Material from the excavations is being used to create new breeding islands for avocets and terns saving costs on landfill and helping wildlife.

Tophill Low Nature Reserve is located 4 miles from the A164 at Watton and is open daily from 9am to 6pm. Admission is £3.30 for adults and £1.50 for concessions. Sorry no dogs. For more information and events bookings ring 01377 270690 or visit

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