A DISTRESSED otter on the run in Port Seton last Tuesday sparked a search and mass appeal on social media – but it later ended up being hit by a car.

Scott Ironside, the park ranger at Seton Sands Holiday Village, who also runs East Lothian Animal Rescue Advice, was first made aware of the animal at about 10.30am by a member of the community who had also phoned the SSPCA.

The wild otter was last seen on the Promenade heading out of Port Seton towards the beach, with searches by Scott, his assistant ranger and the SSPCA taking place in this area.

Scott posted information about the report on Facebook.

Scott said he often received calls about animals in distress but this one was quite unusual.

He said: “Otters are usually quiet and reserved animals, they can be out in the bay and miles away from interference.

“It’s completely unreasonable for him to be there at that time of the day.”

Scott was told by the member of the public that the otter was bleeding from the head, an injury sustained prior to going on the run.

Scott said: “I don’t know how he got the head injury but that’s obviously how he got confused, it confused him enough that he went into the village.”

A group of otters are often seen at Seton Sands. Scott believes the group live in secluded areas nearby, possibly between Port Seton and Longniddry. He was unable to confirm if the otter was part of this group.

Sadly, the runaway otter later died after being hit by a car opposite a field beside Seton Sands at about 7.30pm.

Tracy Dow, Scottish SPCA inspector, said: “We were called to the incident but, despite our best efforts and the assistance of two local rangers, we were unable to catch the otter.

“We’re very grateful for the assistance we received from locals in trying to catch the creature and saddened to hear the otter was later hit by a car.

“If anyone comes across an injured, sick or distressed animal they should call our helpline on 03000 999 999.”

After this incident and reports of a cat being hit in the village recently, Scott proposed ‘wildlife crossing’ signs be erected to slow drivers down.