Otters spotted in Bukit Timah; group fled from Singapore River home due to Bishan otters

A group of six otters were spotted in the Bukit Timah area on May 30, 2019.
A group of six otters were spotted in the Bukit Timah area on May 30, 2019.PHOTOS: MS LIM

SINGAPORE - A group of otters were spotted at a Bukit Timah bus stop on Thursday morning (May 30).

The group of six was also seen near Stevens MRT station on the same day, as well as near Adam Road Food Centre the evening before, according to posts by netizens to the OtterWatch Facebook page.

A Straits Times reader noticed the otters along Bukit Timah Road at around 7am when she was taking her children to school.

"They were chilling at the roadside at first, then they were trying to cross the road," said the 37-year-old, who wanted to be known only as Ms Lim.

"It was a bit scary. They tried a few times before managing to cross safely."

She added that it was an unexpected and unusual sight in the morning, and that the otters were "very cute".

Otter enthusiast Bernard Seah, 50, identified the group as the Zouk otters, which were so named when they were spotted near the former Zouk site in Jiak Kim Street in the second half of 2018.

 
 
 
 

He said that the group was seen in the Bukit Timah area, as the otters had been fleeing from the Bishan otter family that had visited the Zouk otters' area along the Singapore River on Wednesday.

The Bishan group, as well as the Marina otter family, are two well-known otter families here.

When asked how the Zouk otters might have ended up in the Bukit Timah area, he said that it was the general direction they had moved in.

Mr Seah explained that otters require land as much as they need water, adding that it was a common misconception to think that otters did everything in the water.

"They need land to sleep and to rest, and running and moving on land is something these smooth-coated otters are very comfortable with," he added.

The group of Zouk otters comprises three adults and three offspring, which were born in end-November last year.

"The Zouk otters seem to not lack the curiosity of otters, in fact a little more than usual. They were recently spotted at the perimeter of the Istana," said Mr Seah.

This is not the first time otters were spotted in the Bukit Timah area. In 2017, Stomp reported that a group of otters were seen outside Hwa Chong Institution. It is believed that they were the Marina otters.

Separately, Stomp reported that a dead otter was found along Yishun Avenue 1 on Thursday morning.