Courses for Kids
Free study material
Offline Centres

Mijbil the Otter - Summary

Last updated date: 25th Feb 2024
Total views: 374.1k
Views today: 11.73k
hightlight icon
highlight icon
highlight icon
share icon
copy icon

Summary of Mijbil The Otter

Imagine, instead of a cuddly dog or a purring cat, your pet was a playful, mischievous otter! That's the incredible experience Gavin Maxwell, the author of "Mijbil the Otter," shares with us in this fascinating chapter from the book "First Flight." Get ready to dive into a world of wet fur, slippery slides, and fishy feasts as we explore the summary of Mijbil's journey from the Tigris marshes of Iraq to the bustling streets of London. Once finish reading the summary, you can answer any questions related to the chapter easily. So, without any delay, let us start.



The author describes how his life changed after he decided to domesticate an otter after losing his pet dog in this lesson. He takes us on a voyage from Iraq to London, adjusting, playing, and travelling with Mijbil the otter, and how he built an inseparable friendship with him along the way.

About the Author

Gavin Maxwell was a Scottish naturalist and novelist, most recognized for his non-fiction work, particularly his work with otters.

Summary of Mijbil The Otter

Gavin Maxwell is the author of the prose named ’Mijbil, the Otter’. The author describes how his life changed after keeping an Otter as a pet as he lost his first pet dog. He is trying to take the audience through his journey of playing and all his experiences with Mijbil-the-Otter. His journey started from Iraq to London through a flight where he developed an attached bond with him. During his flight, the Otter created havoc and scared everyone. However, a kind-hearted air hostess helped the writer to travel with Mijbil.

Mijbil The Otter Summary In English

Summary of Mijbil the Otter starts with the author travelling along with his friend to Basra to receive his mail. After losing his pet dog, he became alone, and thus during his journey with his friend, he expressed his wish to keep an Otter as a pet. His friend agreed with him and suggested that he get one from the Marshes along river Tigris in Iraq. After reaching the destination, they found that only a friend’s mail had arrived. His friend received his mail and went away. He left a sack containing an Otter for the author. Being astonished he named the Otter Mijbil or Mij.

An Otter As A Pet:

The narrator said that Mij would take some time to get familiar with his surroundings. When Mij went to the bathroom, it jumped and rolled in the bathtub gladly. Mijbil loves playing with water and learned how to open the faucet by himself in a short time. In the Mijbil the Otter summary, the author says Mij loves to spend most of its time playing with marbles and rubber balls. His time is passing smoothly in Basra with Mijbil, and now it’s time to go back to England. However, British Airlines didn’t allow transporting animals due to which the author has to book a different flight that allows Mij on board.


(Image will be Uploaded Soon)


The author put the Otter in a box before the flight and left it for some while. When he returned, he saw Mij created different holes in the box and ruined the internal lining. He got frightened after seeing that blood was coming out from the air holes. The narrator hastily opened the box and saw that Mijbil was unconscious. Somehow, he managed to remove all the sharp edges from the box and placed the Otter again in the box. 


There were only 10 minutes left for his flight to take off, so he rushed to the airport and caught the flight. Gavin told a summary of Mijbil to the air hostess as she was friendly and suggested the author place Mijbil on his lap. When he opened the box, the Otter disappeared and started developing chaos in the flight. It made all the passengers fearful. The air hostess in the flight helped Gavin to find Mij.


(Image will be Uploaded Soon)


When the author arrived in London with an Otter, he left people clueless. They could not understand the summary of Mijbil the Otter and kept guessing the name of the animal. Some people think him to be a baby squirrel, seal, or a hippo. However, no one was able to make a correct guess that it was an Otter. The most shocking event was when the labourer was digging a hole in the street and placed down all his tools after seeing the animal. He screamed, what’s this animal claiming to be?'' 

The Bond Formed Between Gavin And Otter

The author remained in London with his pet Otter for a month. Mij used to play with ping-pong balls, toys, rubber fruit, and other things for hours. While playing, he places the ball on the slanted top of the suitcase. Gavin was supposed to take Mijbil out for a walk and exercise. The Otter developed some of the habits on those walks. He went with the narrator like children running, playing, and touching things in London streets. Within a month, the author developed a strong bond between him and his pet Otter.

Beyond the Story: What Can Students Learn?

"Mijbil the Otter" offers a treasure trove of teaching opportunities for students:

  1. Exploring themes of friendship and empathy: Students can delve into the unique bond between Gavin and Mijbil, discussing how their differences strengthen their connection. They can explore concepts like unconditional love, acceptance, and appreciating the extraordinary.

  1. Understanding animal behavior: Mijbil's playful, curious nature offers a window into the fascinating world of otters. Students can research their habits, habitats, and unique characteristics, deepening their understanding of the natural world.

  1. Appreciating diversity and embracing the unconventional: The story challenges traditional notions of pets and encourages students to embrace differences. It can spark discussions about acceptance, inclusivity, and celebrating what makes each individual unique.

  1. Creative writing and storytelling: "Mijbil the Otter" can inspire students to unleash their own creativity. They can write stories about their own unique friendships, create their own mischievous companions, or even imagine Mijbil's adventures from his perspective.


  1. After his dog died, Maxwell decided to keep an otter as his pet. 

  2. On the suggestion of a friend, he got an otter from the Tigris Marsh.

  3. Maxwell felt that the arrival of the otter opened a new stage in his life. 

  4. The otter first appeared as a little dragon. He was covered with mud. Maxwell spent a lot of time and energy removing the dust. 

  5. Otters like to play in the water and cannot stand in front of the water. 

  6. He also likes to play with rubber balls. Marble toys are his favourite. 

  7. A few days later, Maxwell had to return to London. 

  8. Transport of Mijbil to London became a problem because British Airways did not allow animals on its flights. 

  9. Another airline agreed to pack the animal in a box. 

  10. Maxwell made a small box for the otter. 

  11. On the plane, the otter escaped from the box. Some passengers yelled and stood on their seats when they saw the otter on the plane. 

  12. Finally, the otter came back, lying on Maxwell's knees.

  13. On reaching London, the otter was unfamiliar to most people. They simply made random assumptions.

  14. In London, Mijbil learned to play ping-pong and developed certain habits.


"Mijbil the Otter" is more than just a story about a mischievous otter. It's a reminder that happiness can be found in the most unlikely places. It's a celebration of the unique bonds we form with animals, and the joy they bring to our lives. It's a call to embrace the different, the unusual, and the wet, slippery wonder of an otter named Mijbil. 

So, the next time you feel lost or lonely, remember Mijbil. Remember that laughter and joy can be found in the most unexpected corners, and that sometimes, the best friends come with whiskers and a love for fish. And who knows, maybe one day, you too will have your own Mijbil-sized adventure, one that will fill your heart with fishy giggles and memories that will last a lifetime.

FAQs on Mijbil the Otter - Summary

1. What is the Moral Theme for Mijbil the Otter?

Animals are very dear to humans. This is a special case for dogs. Being very loyal to humans, we never complain about them. They keep us protected every time. Once you keep them as your pet, you cannot get rid of their essence throughout life. Same is the case with authors. His loyal dog died leaving him alone throughout his life. He then kept Mijbil who was an Otter, but only people in Southern Iraq were able to recognise it. However, to the author, this creature took the time to become a friend. However, it became dear to him later. People in London considered it to be a squirrel.

2. Put the Light on the Appearance of Otter.

People usually could not recognise this creature. Also, they think it to be like a squirrel. However, the fact is this creature is similar to a dragon which belongs to the middle ages. Also, in the research, many people found it to cover the symmetric points of the scale of mud. Also, there is a scale of soft velvet fur. Moreover, it has short ears and noses with an elongated body as that of a dragon. Otters have a similar appearance as that to the dragons with the facial features and the elongated body. Otters are very unique creatures that hardly anyone could find today.

3. What is the thing that we came to know about otters in front of his text?

Otters are members of the Mustelline family, which includes badgers, mongooses, weasels, stoats, minks, and others. In wetlands, they can be found in large numbers. Arabs tame and keep them as pets. Otters enjoy spreading water around and splashing in it. Maxwell's otter was a previously unknown species to science, and it took zoologists a long time to name it.

4. Why do you feel the otter was afraid of the narrator at first? Is it possible to apply this to human nature as well?

The otter was first afraid of the narrator because he was meeting him for the first time. He was transferred to a new location with unfamiliar surroundings. He had no idea who the narrator was or where he had been, so he stayed away from him. However, as soon as he felt comfortable in his surroundings, he became friendly and approached the narrator.

This is quite similar to human nature. It is difficult to simply mix with people because you must first understand their nature.

Human beings, too, require time to learn about others before being close with them. They try to avoid being around someone until they feel comfortable with them. As a result, the otter is believed to behave almost like humans.

5. The narrator, Maxwell, referred to the airhostess as "the queen of her kind." This shows how caring and helpful she was. Do you come across such people nowadays? Has there been a change in people's values?

It is becoming more difficult to find people that care and support you in today's world. Instead of helping others, they start to make excuses and cite rules and regulations. In early times, people used to think about other people's problems and try to help them in whatever way they could.

Because of the shift in people's values, this is changing. People put a lot of emphasis on their personal safety and security. They do not believe or care about someone's motive or personal interest in his actions. They care about themselves first and then think about others. People are trying to meet their needs, which leads them down the wrong path. They try to complete their work while ignoring others. However, this is not an attitude we should adopt in our daily lives.

Students Also Read