TWO orphaned otter cubs escaped the clutches of a pair chasing dogs by taking refuge under a wheelie bin in the Highland town of Thurso.
The ten-week-old male siblings were found in a distressed state and without their mother on Thurso beach.
The brothers – named Thurso and Surf – are now thriving in the care of animal welfare charity, the Scottish SPCA.
The young cubs had been spotted in the area without their mother, but were then scared off by two dogs and ran into a nearby garden.
When Senior Inspector Audrey Gunn arrived she found the brothers huddled next to a wheelie bin.
The otters are now being rehabilitated at the Scottish SPCA’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Fishcross, Clackmannanshire.
Audrey said: “Thurso and Surf were camouflaged next to a brown bin and were hard to spot at first glance.
“I collected my equipment from my van and when I came back I thought they had disappeared. However, on closer inspection, I realised they had managed to squeeze themselves under the wheelie bin, with only their back ends noticeable.
“Thurso and Surf were timid but curious and I paid a visit to the local fish shop to make sure they were well fed.
“They were lucky to be found as otters are dependant on their mothers until they’re around a year old and they wouldn’t have been able to survive on their own.”
National Wildlife Rescue Centre Manager Colin Seddon said, “Both cubs are well, albeit very frightened. However, they are clearly very happy to be together and they follow each other everywhere.
“It’s really good that they’ve got one another as this will help with their development in our care.
“Thurso and Surf will remain with us for a year, in which time they’ll learn to fend for themselves. We’ll then be able to release them back into the wild where they belong.”