Otters frolic


I don’t often see river otters; indeed the last one was well over a year ago. However a family of otters visited yesterday morning and spent a half hour on a nearby dock. There were two parents and two pups. Come spring, the pups will go off on their own as adults.

The first three pictures I show were taken near the end of the visit. This order enables me to make a point that explains some of the rest of the pictures.

A few times, the otters looked in the general direction of the photographers who were spread along the beach. But, the otters seemed uncertain about what they were, where they were, and indeed if they posed a threat. I think the otters are left to right: mother, pup, father, pup. Photo Dorothy Fraser.

After playing and preening for a half hour, they began to leave. Photo Cynthia Fraser.

One otter (the father?) came along the ramp towards the shore to have a closer look at the people. It turns out that otters are near-sighted, which is a consequence of their vision being adapted for underwater seeing. So, otters often need to come close for a good look.

The otter family spent most of its time preening themselves and others, but often the father watched the surroundings.

On one occasion one of the otters wandered away from the others and defecated. The otter then came back to the group. The dung of an otter is called a spraint.

Here three of them are interacting, but one is looking out, but unable to see things sharply in the distance.

Yet, they knew that there was something on the adjacent beach.

The family poses.


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6 Responses to Otters frolic

  1. Karen Pidcock says:

    Oh thanks, Dorothy and Alistair for these delightfully entertaining (even as such sharp stills) of this river otter family. Amazing to think of them being out to preen and play in this cold…must have very insulating skin/fur!!

  2. Mary McQueen says:

    Thank you for sharing knowledge as well as great photos. Always enjoy receiving these

  3. Colleen Scissons says:

    Thank you for the great photos and the knowledge. I didn’t know they were near sighted. Otters bring such playful happy memories.
    Thank you Cynthia and Alistair for making my day such a pleasant one!

  4. Ruth says:

    Wonderful photos! Thank you for sharing.

  5. Laurie and Ed Mannings says:

    Wow. What a dignified family. Surname Lontra ?

  6. Stephen Wells says:

    Amazing photos and story. Thank you! I’ve seen otters a few times, but more often I find their tracks in the snow. They seem to delight in playing with my boat fenders which often wind up uselessly on the dock amongst otter tracks and a spraint (thanks for the new word) or two.

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