The Countryman's Weekly

Lurchers

Lurchers
December 13
08:06 2017

WEB3-13-12-17Otters, mink and a seal all attract the dogs attention

By Penny Taylor.

I REMEMBER reading that otters do not tolerate mink in their territories. This might well be true as the otter is the larger aquatic predator of the two and would not take kindly to having competition for their fish. Before the otters made a comeback to this part of the River Ouse we found and saw mink quite frequently, especially once the Minkhounds were banished in the wake of the hunting ban.

One summer I spotted a whole litter of young mink and their mother frolicking along the lane leading down to the fishing lakes and it was not at all unusual for the dogs to disturb these voracious predators in cover. This was especially so in the spring when a hungry adult would be hunting small animals and birds in order to feed its young.

On more than one occasion I saw mink perched among the uppermost branches of blackthorn trees along the narrow tributaries of the main river. Although, whether they had climbed to escape the attention of the dogs or were searching for bird nests I don’t know.

Only twice did my lurchers actually manage to catch a mink, too far from a tree, water or a hole to make its escape. The resulting explosion of anal glands is not an aroma you willingly breathe.

 

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