Otter found in van engine at Tesco supermarket in Suffolk is reunited with brother after escape

Undated handout photo issued by the RSPCA of a female otter reunited with her brother after being rescued from inside the engine compartment of a Tesco delivery van. Issue date: Tuesday October 18, 2022.
Credit: RSPCA
The two escaped otters have now been reunited, thanks to the RSPCA. Credit: RSPCA

An otter pup has been reunited with her brother - after being rescued from inside the engine compartment of a Tesco delivery van.

The young female was seen being attacked by birds at the Tesco Extra store in Copdock, near Ipswich, on 11 October, the RSPCA said.

As she tried to escape, she ran to hide under the van and ended up in its engine compartment.

It took an RSPCA inspector around an hour to lure her out using food on a stick and a grabber to pull her to safety.

The otter was rescued by Tesco workers and the RSPCA. Credit: RSPCA

Another RSPCA worker rescued a male otter pup the previous day, around half a mile away, and it is thought they are siblings.

The male pup was seen on a pavement before running into a plant hire company in Scrivener Drive, where staff caught him in a box and called the animal rescue charity.

The pups, thought to be three to four months old, are being cared for at South Essex Wildlife Hospital in Orsett, where they will stay before being returned to the wild.

RSPCA inspector Caroline Richardson, who carried out the Tesco rescue, said: "When I got the call I must admit I expected to find a ferret or a rat stuck in the engine - but, when I reached in to get a better look, there was the cutest little face staring back at me.

"The otter was not coming out of her own accord and the staff had been trying to lure her out with some food on a stick. As this seemed to work, I carried on with the approach and then, when the moment was right, I was able to use my rescue equipment to grab her and pull her out.

"Despite her ordeal she was not injured - and she was quite curious - and it soon became apparent she was just a baby."

The cuddly pair have been reunited - and seem pleased to see each other again. Credit: RSPCA

Ms Richardson said she knew her colleague had been in the area the day before to collect another otter pup from the plant hire business.

She said the animals were too young to be out of their den and she believes "unfortunately something must have happened to mum or the den was disturbed".

Jen Richardson, the officer who collected the pup from the plant hire business, and who is not related to Caroline, said: "Although it's very sad to think these pups lost their mum, it is heart-warming to know they have been reunited.

"We again just want to thank everyone who has helped in the rescue of the otters.

"Now they are in the care of a wildlife hospital, they stand the best chance of being rehabilitated and then returned back to the wild where they belong."

Otter cubs can stay in care for up to 12 months and are released at an age and size when they would naturally move off to find their own territory and way in life.

Sue Schwar, manager of South Essex Wildlife Hospital, said: it was "just wonderful to reunite" the two pups.

She said they were "very skinny" but are on a diet of trout and "eating well".

"We expect they will get through an awful lot while they are here," she added.

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