River Otters are such fun to watch!

River Otters are one of the best things to find when nature watching.  In fact, I carry a camera with me almost everywhere, and if people look at me funny for taking out the trash while carrying a camera, I always explain that I might see an otter and I want to have the camera ready.  I’ve written about them on the Dewees Island blog several times, always with an exclamation point because I get so excited.  The other day I was shaking out a rug on the porch and a river otter caught my eye scratching his back and lurking in the impoundment~ he stayed there long enough for me to run in and grab the camera.

It was fun to have a few minutes to watch the way he closed off his nostrils before heading under the water, and he was fairly close and undisturbed by me.  Last February, I was walking the dog past a dock and heard a funny noise.  I saw this otter watching us, and sort of snorting at us.  The dog was intrigued enough that I was afraid he’d jump in to play.  I am still not sure if the otter didn’t want us to move out of his way (we were near a place where they have a trail across the road) or whether the otter was either scolding the dog or wanting him to play.

We are most likely to see signs of river otters rather than the actual animal, but sightings in all seasons are possible.  Their tracks look sort of like a cross between a dog (but with webbed feet) and an alligator with a tail dragging. (More about tracks here)

The footage in the video at the top of the page was from three separate encounters: that day a huge river otter checked us out at the Christmas Bird Count, the sighting last week, and one in 2011.