Friday, July 04, 2008

River Otter

As I was returning from a day of birding I spotted something large on side of highway 87 about 3 miles north of Sabine Pass, TX. On the edge of this road that borders Sabine Lake was a dead river otter (Lontra canadensis).
A member of the weasel family this aquatic mammal scours the depths for mollusks, crayfish, crabs, frogs, snakes, water insects, turtles, eggs, birds (young waterfowl) and of course fish. I’ve heard some fisherman talk negatively towards otters saying that they decimate “their” fish, when in fact the fish they primarily feed on are rough or “trash” fish, that is those not normally eaten by people. Its webbed feet and long tapered tail allow it to swim as well as any fish, and also has the ability to hold its breath for several minutes due to its nose and ears being “valved” which prevent water from entering. Check out this cool video of river otters I found on YouTube:





I’ve only encountered this animal a couple of times in the wild. Once I spotted an adult with a young pup crossing a road that bordered a marsh. Naturally I stopped to observe them. Upon seeing me they rushed into a patch of reeds at the edge of the road. The adult then slowly began to go back to the opposite side as if to distract me from the pup. Due to this being a busy thoroughfare it doesn’t surprise me that this happened. Hopefully it’s only an isolated incident.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Eagle Eye said...

Just a few weeks ago, I went birding near a river, and I saw a mother otter with three cubs. One cub had something wrong with it's legs, and kept getting left behind.

I have been lucky to see otters many times in the wild, but I've never seen one distracting me from it's cub!

8:06 AM  
Blogger Namib Naturalist said...

Hey, I don't know what they are like to find for you guys. Our otters are really special to see in southern Africa. I mainly spend my time in the Deserts of Namibia, but thinking of otters takes me back to a time when I was working in a National Park in South Africa. Camping out along the rivers and waking up to find Nature active all around you - meant that we got to see things we normally wouldn't...like Cape Clawless Otters

2:25 AM  
Blogger Jace Stansbury said...

Yes they're wonderful creatures. I only wish I would see more of them.

Jace

8:09 PM  
Blogger Jace Stansbury said...

namib naturalist,

wow, it's nice to know of someone in South Africa that's checking mout my blog. I can only imagine the amount and type of wildlife that coems your way!

Jace

8:13 PM  
Blogger Namib Naturalist said...

I actually live in Namibia, just north west of South Africa. I don't see any otters here unless I go up to the Caprivi, which is the far north. Actually there on the rivers we do see lots. But I don't get to be there very often.

5:22 PM  

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