River Otters

There will be no flash fic from me this week. I waited for something to hit me regarding the photo of two girls kissing, but nothing did, so I skipped it. Maybe next week.


Midmorning one day last week, I looked up from work and saw a slinky dark form slither out of the large metal drainpipe on the other side of the canal. I recognized it immediately as an otter and raced to fetch the camera.

It turned out there were two, and one appeared to be pregnant. They went into the concrete drain under the sidewalk on my side of the canal about a hundred feet north of my condo. A very large silver fish floated on its side just outside the opening, surrounded by dozens of newborn babies that darted here and there, tiny streaks of light in water that had been churned to mud. As I waited, camera ready, an otter stuck its head up, looking straight at me.Otter 3 3.6.15

After a few frozen moments on both our parts, he vanished under the sidewalk, but I waited patiently. What goes in eventually comes out.

And he did. Otter 4 3.6.15 sm

Both of them flashed out into the canal, turned, went under, came up on the far side to look at me, then returned one at a time, as if trying to escape my notice. Otter 2 3.6.15 sm

They darted back into the drain under the sidewalk, taking the dead silver fish with it. After a few moments, only the male appeared. He went no farther than the other side of the canal, and as you can see, he knew I was there. Otter 1 3.6.15 sm

He dove deep, and I didn’t see him for at least two or three minutes, maybe four. But when he surfaced again, he had a large fish in his mouth. Otter 5 with Fish 3.6.15

He instantly took it to his mate, who had stayed in the drain under the sidewalk with the other fish.

This was when I left. I didn’t want my presence to stress them anymore than it already had. I decided to return in late afternoon.

Around five, I strolled down that way with the camera. The once-muddy water was now clear, and there was no sign of them. I haven’t seen them since, but I think they’re still around. The food in the canal is plentiful, and if the one otter was indeed pregnant, they will need it for the pups when they’re born.

My fingers are crossed I see the family again soon.


About Fenraven

Fenraven happily lives in south Florida, where it is really hot most of the year. Find him on Twitter, Google +, and Facebook by searching on 'fenraven'.
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20 Responses to River Otters

  1. Allison says:

    Squee!!!!!!!!!!!!! What great shots! I love that he was keeping an eye on you. I hope you see them soon and that they stick around for when the pups are born. It would be so amazing to see what you’d get of that. 😀

    Great start to a day, thanks!

    • I really want to see those pups. 🙂 It’s possible they have moved to one of the islands in the lake at the south end of the canal. I spend enough time at R’s I may see them from his backyard.

  2. do you know, your photos are fantastic, so clear and sharp on a moving and elusive subject.my hats off to you. i am sure u know it, but i just have to write in to say it, i am that impressed.

  3. Helena Stone says:

    Gorgeous pictures of equally gorgeous animals. I love the story of how you got all of them and how they reacted to you. My fingers will be crossed too. I’d love for this to be an ongoing narrative and how adorable would pictures of baby otters be. Thank you for sharing.

  4. The pictures turned out great. Otters are so lovely and graceful and you did a fantastic job capturing that. Like everyone else, I hope you’re able to get pics of the pups when they’re born. ❤

  5. Wow how wonderful I hope you do see them again with their family.

  6. Lindsaysf says:

    How awesome! I love your patience and attunement with your photo subjects – and the magical pictures that result.

  7. “They exist! I’ve seen them in the canal!” Hahaha! I can almost hear the one in the 4th picture thinking, “What *is* it you’re looking at?”

  8. Patricia says:

    Persistence in getting those shots, and nice to let the otters have breathing space too.

  9. A.M.B. says:

    How wonderful! I’ve only seen otters in the zoo (where they’re the only animals that look like they’re having fun).

    • They do seem cheerful, but in my pictures, the male looked suspicious, and I can’t blame him. 🙂 I have not seen them since, but I hope they’re still around and visit again soon.

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