Otter Family!

We’re not sure if this is the same family we’ve seen before with 4 kits.  Dad must be on a fishing trip.

Although these photos are mine and taken on the Alsea River, Oregon, I got the scoop on them from here: http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/river_otters.html

Everything in italics is from me.

Otter kit sneakin' a drink
Sneakin’ a drink

At 8 to 10 weeks the young otters start exploring outside their den and are introduced to solid food.  That one’s not too old to forget that mama has yummy milk though.

Otter mom with kits
I think I’ve been made

River otters are active day and night; around humans they tend to be more nocturnal. Otters spend their time feeding and at what appears to be group play.

Otters playing and drying their fur
Playing and drying their fur

They also dry their fur, groom themselves, and mark their territory by vigorously scratching, rubbing, and rolling on the ground. River otters are active year round, and, except for females with young in a den, are constantly on the move.

otter mom with kits
Sticking close to mom

They tend to follow a regular circuit that is covered in one to four weeks. Males can travel 150 miles within a particular watershed and its tributaries in a year. A family may range 10 to 25 miles in a season.

As they frolicked up the river, past a great blue heron, they left our sight.  At one point we started hearing a high-pitched bark or, it was more of a chirp.  I thought it was an osprey but there was nothing in the sky.  The sound seemed to come from different places, first one side of the river and then the other.  We couldn’t see the otters anymore.  The heron didn’t fly away immediately when the chirping started but eventually did.  We’re sure it was an alarm sound from one of them but not sure which one was in trouble or how.

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