Martha Lester-Cribb was visiting her mother in Wardie Avenue when the rare sighting occurred.
She explained: “My mum is having some work done on the bathroom of her house, and I was visiting when one of the workmen told me the surprising news.
“He said to me, ‘I might be going mad here, but I think I've just seen an otter go under your car’.
“I went outside to have a look and, sure enough, there was an otter poking its head out from underneath.
“I just saw these great big whiskers and it was looking right at me.
“It then climbed up onto the wheel arch and had its tail hanging down, dripping wet. My mum's got a small pond, so it's obviously been for a swim.”
When the cute mammal climbed further into the car, Martha decided it was time to call in the experts.
“I phoned the Scottish SPCA and they said it sounded a bit odd but would come and have a look.
“Two animal rescue officers showed up, and once they were ready with all their stuff, they told me to open the bonnet.
“When it was opened up, we could just see this otter's foot and a bit of fur showing.
“The SPCA inspectors tried to encourage it out, but they couldn't really reach it.
“Suddenly it shot out from under the car, up the front path, down the road, and into a neighbour's garden!”
Ironically, Martha says she and her husband are keen otter spotters who have gone to wildlife locations in the past hoping to spot the adorable creatures.
They have never got lucky – until now.
Martha explained: “When we've been on holiday in places like Shetland and the Outer Hebrides we've always thought how much we'd love to see an otter. We never have.
“So who would have guessed I'd eventually find one under my car engine in suburban Edinburgh!”
Scottish SPCA animal rescue officer, Darren Malcolm, said: “We received a call to our helpline yesterday about an otter who had gotten themselves trapped inside the body of a car in Wardie Avenue, Edinburgh.
“We’re not completely sure how he managed to get in there, but it is likely he was spooked and used it as shelter to hide.
“It is not unusual to see otters away from water. There was a pond nearby so that may be where he had been or was heading to.
“Otters are notorious for stealing fish and can even cut through fishing nets. This otter would have been disappointed as this pond didn’t have any fish in it.
“When my colleague and I opened the bonnet, it turned out he didn’t need our help as he shot out of there and ran away as fast as he could.
“Because of his speed, we we’re unable to give him a thorough check over, but it is unlikely he was injured as there is no way he could have made his getaway if he was!
“If anyone does spot this otter and thinks he needs our help, or indeed any other wild animal, please contact our animal helpline on 03000 999 999.”