Otters raid Bukit Timah home's pond for koi, return for seconds and thirds within days

Several of Chen's fish were found dead in her pond (left). More of her dead fish were collected and placed in a box (right).
PHOTO: PHOTO: Facebook/Sylvia Toh Paik Choo

One particular homeowner living in Bukit Timah must be cursing her luck after a group of brazen otters helped themselves repeatedly to her pet fish over two days.  

The very irate fish owner, surnamed Chen, shared that she has lived in this house along Hertford Road for the past 16 years and this was the first time her fish had been devoured by otters, reported Shin Min Daily News. 

"Although I have seen the news of otters killing koi before, I didn't take preventive measures as I didn't think it would happen to me," she admitted. 

The 64-year-old owner said that she had around 20 koi, tilapia and catfish in her pond prior to the multiple attacks last month. 

On the morning of Oct 23, her helper woke up to find several fish dead, all with their heads torn off and their guts devoured. Some of the surviving catfish had also been bitten. 

Chen suspects that the otters broke into her home at 3am as her mother was awakened by the sound of water splashing outside the house but did not investigate further. 

Back for seconds

The otters didn't just stop there as at around 5pm that same day, Chen's mother returned home to find more of their fish missing, seemingly polished off by the otters. 

"Some of the other remaining fish had been killed, which proves that the otters came to my home twice on the same day," said Chen. 

The very next day (Oct 24), the otters struck once again where their helper saw five of them enter the house to finish off the remaining catfish in the pond. 

The otters caught on camera. PHOTO: Facebook/Sylvia Toh Paik Choo 

Traumatised by the incident, Chen told the Chinese daily that in the future, she will not be raising large fish.

Instead, she will only rear small ones like guppies to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. 

Not the only incident at Bukit Timah 

Chen's case isn't an isolated one where earlier this month, another Bukit Timah resident shared that otters wiped out 22 of her koi worth over $20,000 while she was asleep. 

The owner, Tham Yuen Ying, had reared the fish with her father for over 20 years and some of the koi that died in the attack were over 15 years old. 

"I had this hobby for close to 30 years. In one night, [my hobby] is destroyed," she said. 

The incident also shocked Tham's family because they had no issues with otters in over two decades of living in Bukit Timah.

Just this year alone, NParks shared that they have received over 300 otter-related feedback as of September, more than the whole of last year (305) and 2020 (208). 

In a virtual press conference on Oct 17 to address the increase in otter invasions, NParks suggested home owners mesh up gaps and erect other "otter-proof" barriers to protect their homes from the creatures. 

Addtionally, they shared that they have been working with home owners at otter hotspots such as in Bukit Timah, Seletar and along Alexandra Canal. 

Senior Minister of State for National Development Tan Kiat How also said in a Facebook post on Oct 17 that with such measures in place, "otters are likely to move on as they are unable to access the ponds for food". 

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