River Otters Beach Time

Wandering the beach looking for storm debris I found it was swept clean. Driftwood was pushed up against the bluff and the beach was clean as newly settled snow. A few crows and gulls floated around and the wind was whipping the surf up.

Headed back to the stairs I stopped to feed a few crows peanuts. That was when I noticed what I thought was a seal next to a rock at the surf line.

 

Otters on Ocean View Beach
Otters on Ocean View Beach

I was so wrong. It was a pair of River Otters.  Puget Sound (a salt water body of water) does not have Sea Otters but rather is inhabited by River Otters. You can tell them apart quickly. River otters have a longer tail, they swim belly down and are longer than sea otters. Sea otters swim on their belly just like you think of otters and are chunkier with a flatter tail.

The one that I thought was the rock was grooming and just enjoying a little beach time.

Otter grooming on beach
Otter grooming on beach
River Otter of Puget Sound
River Otter of Puget Sound

His buddy was chowing down on a flounder or what looked like a flat fish.

River Otter chews on fish
River Otter chews on fish
River Otter feeds on beach
River Otter feeds on beach

This pair has lived near here for quite a while. Earlier this year I caught them in the surf. Ocean view Otter Fun – March 2016

This summer I encountered a couple of folks at a low tide who told me about how they had their den under a house on Seola Drive. They would go up the storm drain pipe into the roadside ditch.  From there they entered under the house.

Coincidently that day I met a couple up close to Marine View Drive who said it was their house. They said that they had tried to bar them out but the rascals broke back in.  The big problem was how much they stunk and the mess they made. Who would have thought that a pair of fish-eating mammals would be such a nuisance.

Today I took some video of the pair eating, grooming and playing in the surf.

These cute creatures are about 25 pounds and you would not want to tangle with them. These next two pictures show you that they have TEETH! All the better to rip their prey up and fill their belly.

River Otter - I got teeth
River Otter – I got teeth
Yum - that fish is GOOD!
Yum – that fish is GOOD!

While I was filming them I coughed. The grooming otter gave me this look.

Otter looks right at me
Otter looks right at me

Next they decided to go for a swim and look for more good eats. The one with the fish gave the other otter what was left and took off. Then they played together in the surf.

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Then the beach was empty. Well not exactly. A gull and crow moved in to see if anything tasty was left behind. And so the cycle of the beach continued on.

Crow hopes for otter leftovers
Crow hopes for otter leftovers
Did they leave any scraps?
Did they leave any scraps?
Otters gone but gull and crow seek scraps
Otters gone but gull and crow hope for goodies

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