A little cayenne pepper was the secret to getting a family of otters out of a Nova Scotia man's basement.
A female otter took up residence in Jim Turner's home in Debaies Cove, in the Eastern Shore, a few weeks ago. Before long, she had a few pups with her.
When the house started to smell, Turner tried to get the animals to leave. He flashed bright lights and even played CBC Radio non-stop to make the otters think humans were always around.
He finally found the trick: cayenne pepper.
"We had to put a little hole in our basement that we could get some more of the cayenne pepper into the general area," Turner told CBC on Wednesday.
"One day we got her to go out during the day. That night there was a lot of traffic in and out of the basement and then the next morning we went down and we couldn't hear any sounds or hear any movement.
"So we're pretty sure she left."
Turner said he used the pepper to make the mother so uncomfortable she would want to leave.
The alternative was to trap her and dig into the unfinished crawl space to grab the pups and take them to a wildlife rehabilitation centre, he said.
Turner doesn't know where the otters ended up. He suspects they found a new home at a pond near his home.
To make certain the animals don't return, Turner has replaced the broken brick on his front porch where the mother otter got in.
"Hopefully we won't have any more guests that we aren't inviting," he said.