Friday, May 20, 2011

Spring River Otter Activity

Juvenile River Otters Constellation Park
Catching a fleeting view of a River Otter in Puget Sound or fresh water habitat can be a real treat.  Over the past few weeks I've been lucky to see more River Otter activity than I've seen in the last 30 years.  From adult river otters mating at Lincoln Park to 2 juveniles fishing and eating at Constellation Park Marine Reserve.
River Otters are cousins of Sea Otters, Mink, Skunks, Weasels....that lot.  In fact I've seen more Mink in Puget Sound than River Otters over the years. 
While a few Sea Otters do on rare occasion wander into Puget Sound, they are animals of the outer coast.  River Otters are common both in the Sound and rivers, lakes...anywhere there is water and food...mainly fish.  I've never seen River Otters eating anything but flounder in Puget Sound, and if it was identifiable it was Starry Flounder.  River Otters are legally hunted, trapped in Washington State, while Sea Otters are totally protected.
Mating River Otters

Mating River Otters

Mating Pair River Otters

Juvenile River Otters Constellation Park

River Otters den, often in Seattle Green Belts, while Sea Otters do not use dens.  River Otters are born in litters, Sea Otters as single births.  There is lots of additional information on the Washington Fish and Wildlife website.

1 comment:

  1. I've even seen them mid-day this year. Slipping into the water at alki past a group of divers.
    Usually I think of them as making dusk/dawn appearances.