Volunteers and residents who work and live on the Whaley Bridge canal think a pair of otters may have taken up residence in the waterway’s basin.
Last Wednesday, people who live on boats in the area reported splashing and screaming around their barges and the next day droppings and a pike’s head were found in the nearby trans-shipment warehouse.
Originally, it was thought they must be escapees from the nearby Chestnut Centre, but the staff there say they still have their full complement.
Volunteer Barry Rudd said: “I haven’t actually seen them yet but the owners of some trip boats say they have, and somebody even said they had caught one lying on its back on the top of a boat!
“It is quite unusual for otters to start living in a canal, but we now think they must have made their way up from the local rivers.
“It is exciting for Whaley Bridge and just goes to show how clean the water in the canal currently is.”
A wildlife camera has now been set up in the warehouse, but so far the otters have remained elusive.
Barry, who is also chairman of the Whaley Bridge Water Weekend, said he hopes the people who attend this year’s event will enjoy it all the more knowing they are sharing the water with some genuine Derbyshire wildlife.
Carol Heap, from the nearby Chestnut Otter, Owl and Wildlife Centre, said the sightings and evidence were ‘good news’, and that they looked forward to more positive evidence in the future.