The Animal Story Book - online children's book

Edited By Andrew Lang And With Numerous Illustrations By H. J. Ford

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THE TAMING OF AN OTTER
sham fish is placed on the ground, and the collar, which seems rather like a horse's bit, is pulled so as to force the mouth open, while the master exclaims ' Take it!' and when the otter is quite perfect in this (which most likely will not happen for a long time) the collar is loosened, and he is told to ' drop it.'
Last of all, he is led down to a river with clear shallow water, where a small dead fish is thrown in. This he catches at once, and then the cord which has been fastened to his neck is gently pulled, and he gives up his prize to his master. Then live fish are put in instead of the dead one, and when they are killed, the otter is given the heads as a reward.
Of course some masters have a special talent for teaching these things, and some otters are specially apt pupils. This must have been the case with the otter belonging to a Mr. Campbell who lived near Inverness. It would sometimes catch eight or ten salmon in a day, and never attempted to eat them; while a man in Sweden, called Nilsson, and his family, lived entirely on the fish that was caught for them by their otter. When he is in his wild state, the otter lives in holes in the rocks, or among the roots of trees, though occasionally he has been known to burrow under ground, having his door in the water, and only a very tiny window opening landwards, so that he may not die of suffocation.
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