February 5, 2023

A retired teacher was “absolutely devastated” after a voracious otter devoured more than 100 of his Koi carp during a five-day feeding frenzy.

Kieran McCarthy, 68, has been caring for his beloved fish at home for 25 years, but he was shocked when they suddenly started disappearing.

He suspected an otter was to blame after finding the stripped carcass of a fish on Oct. 20 that had been dumped next to one of his two ponds.

Mr McCarthy, who lives in St Johns, Worcester, described otters as “absolute killing machines” when you have fish as pets.

In the traumatic five-day attack, 106 of his Koi carp – worth around £7,000 – were brutally killed in both his front and rear ponds over five days, despite spending £140 covering them with chicken wire.

“I’ve been looking after fish for 25 years, but I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Mr McCarthy.

“I’m terrified, angry and frustrated, but an otter does what an otter does. I spent £140 on chicken wire and spent all day in the pouring rain securing the rear pond.

Kieran McCarthy (pictured), 68, is ‘absolutely devastated’ after a voracious otter went on an insane five-day feeding frenzy that left 106 of his expensive Koi carp dead

Incredible footage shows the otter sneaking into Mr. McCarthy's pond, where he killed over a hundred koi carp owned by the retired teacher

Incredible footage shows the otter sneaking into Mr. McCarthy’s pond, where he killed over a hundred koi carp owned by the retired teacher

Mr McCarthy has been taking care of his beloved fish at home for 25 years but he was shocked when they suddenly started disappearing

Mr McCarthy has been taking care of his beloved fish at home for 25 years but he was shocked when they suddenly started disappearing

“I have two ponds, one in the backyard and one in the front. It was all about the otter, regardless of the cost to the victims or to me.’

The rampant otter stopped for thousands of pounds worth of koi carp — a fish that originated in Japan and is found in more than a dozen different species.

Mr McCarthy, thinking he will now have to find a new hobby because of the ‘soul-destroying’ event, added: ‘I couldn’t believe we would see an otter like this in a built-up area. It’s been six consecutive nights and you can’t move otters because they are protected species.

“But it’s hard to see the fish’s throat being cut or getting infected. The otters always find a way in, they are very intelligent creatures. It has wreaked utter havoc and I know I can’t get rid of them.

“The council told me I was lucky to have otters in my yard. But when you have fish, they are absolute killing machines.

“I chased it away with my flashlight, but one night it didn’t work, he looked me in the eye and kept going.

“He’s so brave. He enters the garden between 8.30 pm and 5.00 am. He does not follow a schedule or a fixed diet. I have had companion fish for years and they are hard work and they are very expensive to keep. I can’t go through all this again.

1667224072 767 Gluttonous otter sneaks into mans garden pond and devours more
1667224073 316 Gluttonous otter sneaks into mans garden pond and devours more

His back pond (before and after) has now been emptied after the attacks that left the fish with cut necks and infections

Koi carp are distinguished by their color, pattern and scales.  Japan remains the largest producer of koi with 90 percent of production destined for export.  Pictured: Mr McCarthy's pond before the attacks

Koi carp are distinguished by their color, pattern and scales. Japan remains the largest producer of koi with 90 percent of production destined for export. Pictured: Mr McCarthy’s pond before the attacks

‘It’s been a hobby for years. I can’t go out and spend that kind of money.

‘It’s just soul-destroying, I don’t blame the otters, what they do is part of nature. One fish has become infected and will spread. I have to go do something else now.’

Mr. McCarthy has had most of his fish since they were minnows. Koi can be some of the most expensive fish in the world, with some bringing in up to £2,500 each.

Koi carp are distinguished by their color, pattern and scales. Japan remains the largest producer of koi with 90 percent of production destined for export.

In 2016, Japan exported a record 295 tons of Koi carp, generating sales of over £28 million.

In June, Wiltshire Police sounded the alarm after a series of reports of expensive fish caught by hungry otters during nighttime raids.

One woman, Katie Spragg, previously shared how she lost up to 30 white goldfish and koi carp to the animals.

Police near her home in Corsham, west Wiltshire, suggested people use welded wire mesh or a four-foot wire fence to cover private ponds.

Otters, which are protected by law, were nearly wiped out in the 1960s due to the use of pesticides. They are making a comeback thanks to cleaner water, better fish stocks and changes in riverbank management.