26 MARCH 1927, Page 14


Details of the abnormal number of salmon running up many of the rivers come to me from many parts of the country, including rivers that in most years are quite innocent of any fish of such a size. The most surprising example is supplied by a correspondent, not from a Scotch or Irish river, but from a tiny stream in Devon. A modest fisher for the small and merry trout that chiefly frequent the Devon streams found on the edge of the stream, which must be nameless, a salmon of about 20 lb., just killed by an otter, which had devoured half the head. It is very rare for salmon of such a size to be seen so far up so small a stream ; and it is also rare for an otter to kill one. The incident does not suggest that the otter is so useful in a river as some hold ; but doubtless the chances of so large a fish in such a river would be small. On this subject a correspondent writes : " The otter is, up to its lights. a humane and unselfish beast. It kills its prey quickly, bites the head, and then is very generous with the spoils. It is one of the most interesting of our British mammals." I concur.

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