We have a number of otter resting sites which we are camera-trapping in collaboration with Edinburgh Napier University. Each site is cam trapped for 12 months to quantify activity at resting sites among other things. During our years of camera-trapping, we have seen several unfortunate otters with an injured (?) eye. The first one was a female with a well -grown cub, and we have had a juvenile otter and another adult all at very distant sites so not in any way connected (different catchments, one in the west of Scotland, this one in the Borders, one in Fife etc) Only the juvenile seemed to have other injuries and notably never appeared with a mother. Each time we saw him/her, (s)he was solitary or trailing behind a dog otter who was reasonably tolerant but did chase him/her out of the holt once.
Here we have a very beefy male who frequents this holt on a regular basis which is mostly used by a female and two young. One can only speculate on the cause of the one-eyed otters. In daytime footage, his eye is milky looking, and at night the lack of reflection of the infra-red suggests that his eye isn’t functioning. Otters tend to go for the groin area when fighting, so eye injuries aren’t suggested. Could it be barbed wire? or other debris? A glancing almost-miss by a car? A dog? Our mammals do face a lot of challenges. Or maybe it is disease, or a parasite.
Regardless of the cause, the female we saw had obviously reared a cub successfully, and this male looks well-fed and healthy so in these cases, the loss doesn’t seem to be affecting their survival.