A FISH enthusiast who woke to find his Koi Carp strewn across the garden with their heads and tails missing thinks an otter may have been the culprit.
Michael Smith wondered what on earth had happened when he was woken by his wife screaming on Thursday morning.
He went outside to find seven of his fish, some of which were up to two feet long, on the grass next to the pond.
Two were still alive and he managed to get them back into the water but five were dead with scales missing and some of their heads and tails.
Almost immediately Michael, who has had the fish worth up to £400 and the pond for about seven years, thought it was an otter that was responsible.
And, later that day when he was putting a protective net over the pond in the back garden of his home at Waterstead Crescent, he found another dead fish.
He said: “I thought straight away it was an otter, it has got to be because they do take the heads and tails off.
“A cat couldn’t swim under the water and catch the fish and lift them out – we are talking about five or six pounds in weight for each fish.
“I once saw a heron but it never took anything out.
“I am wondering whether there is a food shortage in the river or whether it is looking for a mate.
“The new bridge is not too far away from here.
“How many ponds are there in Whitby and the thing to try to find out is if it has happened before and if anyone has had anything like this recently.”
Michael, who is retired and devoted much of his time to the upkeep of his pond and garden, said he often sits out watching the fish.
He added: “I was angry at first because of the monetary value but there is no point re-stocking the pond just yet.”