May 13 2011 by Lisa Boyle, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
AN ALBINO otter gracing the River Ayr has been spotted again – crossing a busy street.
The rare mammal was spied having a stroll before relaxing in the front garden of a nearby house.
Stunned onlookers reached for their cameras as the otter walked among them in Ayr’s Masonhill Road.
Eyewitness David Cardie, 68, revealed: “At first I thought it was a big cat, but the closer I got it was clearly an otter.
“Then it hopped off the pavement and just strolled across the street.”
David, who captured the otter on film, added: “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It allowed me to get within 10 feet and take pictures as it lay down in someone’s garden – it didn’t seem bothered at all.”
The fearless furball has become a phenomenon since first being spotted in the river last month.
Stunned wildlife experts told the Post how albino otters are hardly ever spotted in the wild.
And further sightings have now been reported, with revellers claiming to have seen the otter in Ayr High Street during the early hours.
Barry Heggie says he was among a group of people who saw the now famous otter on their way to Madisons nightclub.
Barry confessed: “I realised it was a white otter and I was absolutely flabbergasted. We were only a few feet away from it.
“It was about five times the size of an average ferret.
“When we first saw it, it was lying on the wall just outside Argos. Then it ran across the street to the doorway of the Kyle Centre before disappearing into the High Street.”
As soon as Barry got home to Patna he couldn’t wait to try and find out more about what he had seen.
He added: “I’d never even heard of a white otter. I googled it and up popped the story from the Ayrshire Post from a couple of weeks ago.”
A spokesman for Ayrshire’s Hessilhead Wildlife Centre confirmed: “Sightings of white otters are few and far between.
“They’re not unheard of but, in general, they remain very rare.
“By the looks of this otter, it is probably quite young.
“Although their population is actually doing quite well in Scotland these days, this is an albino otter and those are far more difficult to come across.”
Have you spotted the intrepid albino otter? Get in touch with the Ayrshire Post newsroom on 01292 262200.