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tsterling

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We live on the shore of Puget Sound, in Washington (the state, not the puzzle palace), and are about 1/4 of a mile from the beach and above a 250 foot tall bluff. This is the third time we've seen one of these guys in the ten years we've lived here - I thought my wife was crazy the first time she described seeing an otter in our back yard. Then, I saw one a few years later, and had a crow to eat. Who would guess otters travel this far from the water - but we've had several friends locally who live even farther from the water than we do who've seen them.

 

Sorry for the poor picture quality, but I was taking it through the glass, and they never wait around long. They were actually up on the deck earlier looking in our glass door, but here are checking out the bowl of water we leave out for the deer. Took a few seconds to get the camera and turn it on...

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Magical little buggers aren't they.

Coincidentally I ran into a pair of otters at my favorite swimming hole a few weeks ago. It is 75 miles inland on the Southern Trinity river (northern California). I had not seen any since they had stolen my fishing bait when I was 10 years old. This time my wife and I were standing ankle deep in the water getting ready to jump in when they swam up and starting going after the fish. They did not really take notice of us and we watched them for 20 minutes at close range before they moved on. There is a strong water fall and elevation change and we wondered how they would get past or if they could get past to go further up river. Just as we whispered about that one of them jumped out the water right in front of us and loped up the boulders around the water fall just as easy as can be.

I happened to be holding my camera, but it is tough to get a picture of these guys they never hold still. Your picture is much better than mine :rolleyes: Are yours "Sea otter"? I think ours are river otters. With out looking it up I think they are slightly different, but still otters. Perhaps yours are out so far to nest and have babies? They are so fun to watch :blink:

 

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Hi Karl and Patrick,

 

We were very pleased to see these guys, among all the neat wildlife we have visiting periodically, these are my favorites. We see them near the water fairly regularly, along with the local seals, but seldom here at the house.

 

Patrick, that water gives me the shivers just to think about jumping in - I've done a little swimming and tubing in the mountains of N. California. Brrrrr....

 

These otters, even though they live in salt water, are the regular river otters. Sea otters live out on the Pacific coast of Washington, but we've only seen river otters around here. There's a quaint coffee house in our little town that has a family of otters living underneath the building (right on the water) and I can tell you they are fun to watch but not pleasant to smell. Being members of the Mustelids (skunks, weasels, badgers, fishers, minks, otters, wolverines, et al), they have a strong skunk-like odor, along with the (rotting) fish they bring in. Nice to see from afar, but at close quarters living under your house - whoof! They've also been a major problem at a local marina, lounging on the boats and eating fish on the decks and docks. The marina took to live trapping them and re-locating them inland at a local lake (some 80+ of them one summer), where they promptly set up housekeeping under some of the local's houses (very endearing to the homeowners - not!), and didn't even put a dent in the marina problem :rolleyes:

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I did not realize they were in the stinky group! What a diverse group From wolverines, to weasels, to otters.

. The one I got a really good look at has a darker fur with a lighter more silver patch under the jaw and throat. I don't know if that is particular to a type, could just be natural variety, but your picture looks like they are all one color is that how they looked in person?

That swimming hole is called "Hell Gate" and there are about three months in the year where it is comfortable and pleasant to swim in hehe. Personally I don't like anything under 65F and I am alot more happy at 67+There is no fishing on this river for about 10 years now so the wildlife on it is bountiful and not as shy as neighboring rivers. Further north in the Smith River State Park is some of the best swimming ever. I know this one side stream that is usually about 70F and I could swim in it all day. Hmm too bad my wife is getting close with the pregnancy you are making me long to go to the smith river! She can't handle the drive right now belly too plump :rolleyes:

Patrick

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These normally do have a lighter colored underside, but I suspect the fur was pretty dirty from wandering through the woods. There's not much ground clearance on an otter.

 

Congrats on the little-Patrick to come - you'll soon have another swimming partner who won't ever refuse the chance for a dip! My daughter turned out to be something of an otter herself...she may like to wander through the woods, but if you get her near water, she'll definitely be soaked to the skin before long.

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How old is your daughter now?

 

Hi Patrick, she's 19, going on 30. We don't get much chance for swimming up here in the Great NorthWet, the surrounding waters are about 55 degrees F - painful to even contemplate getting wet, and the rivers in the mountains are all snow-fed and even worse. So, it's indoor pools or nothing, but the general climate and views more than make up for the lack of swimming.

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