SHOPPERS IN CASTLEBAR in Co Mayo got a surprise yesterday morning when a disoriented otter made its way into the local Tesco supermarket.
A crowd of onlookers watched as the otter scuttled up and down the aisles shortly after 9am.
The water-dwelling animal is thought to have travelled to Tesco from nearby Lough Lannagh, crossing a number of busy roads along the route.Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube
He made his way through the supermarket carpark before entering the grocery stop through two sets of automatic doors, overtaking a number of shoppers as he went.
The otter traversed a number of aisles, closely followed by a crowd of curious customers, before a local resident covered him with his jumper and carried the animal outside.
From there, he carried the otter back to Lough Lannagh but was bitten several times for his trouble.
“The poor little guy was very difficult to hold. He was squirming and was clearly very distressed. But I knew if I dropped him anywhere short of the lake he’d be close to traffic,” the resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said.
He got a hold of my finger at one stage and sank his tooth through my nail. I had to go to a GP for a tetanus shot afterwards, but I guess it had to be done.
The otter was visibly relieved to find his way back to the water, and swam towards an area of the lake sheltered by reeds.
Otters are members of the Mustelid family, which includes badgers, stoats, minks, and pine martens. They are nocturnal hunters and it is unusual to see them on land during the day.
In a statement, Tesco Ireland said a “surprise visitor entered its Castlebar store this morning when an otter from a nearby lake appears to have taken a detour.
“No contact was made with any foodstuffs during the incident,” it added.
However, as a precautionary measure store management have taken the necessary actions to thoroughly sanitise the area and is operating business as usual.
“The otter was ushered safely from the store and returned to his natural habitat in a nearby lake.”