Tuesday, 22 April 2014


 This morning was clear and bright after a couple of grey days. But the calm and quiet in Q Cove was interrupted by a grating, penetrating sound , like cats fighting.  No, not cats, otters mating. They "wrestled" along the edge of the water for 15 minutes or more until another otter came galloping noisily along the stone beach. The couple broke up and a great chase ensued out around , in, and under the docks, and the boats. More noise, and then quiet. 

Soon after, one of the otters headed off along the shore and another otter gave chase in the shallow water. They traveled a hundred feet or more in this race until it became clear that the one in the water was gaining. The lead otter went into the water and still the pursuer was closing in. It took another several minutes, by which time they were far up in the bay, but a tumble of water and another growling cry was the result.  Those two soon emerged from the water apart from each other,so I suspect the chase may have been a male and his rival.  

 These are not to be confused with sea otters. These are river otters but that is really not a good name because they are so common in the ocean. They are sleek , long tailed rascals that eat fish and travel pretty well on the shore, den on shore ( including under houses ) and climb out on docks to sun and play. They are so cute and fun to watch when they are just playing around. They often climb into boats, which you will know about if they leave a deposit. They left me a cleaning project this spring. And, they frequently challenge your territory by reacting to the smell of your hands and leaving a crap exactly on the line where you have tied the boat to the dock. I recently learned that the smell of Pinesol cleaner does dissuade them somewhat. 

Minks are also common to see on these shores. They look very similar. The minks are smaller, and uniform in colour. An immature otter and a mink might be hard to tell apart if they are both wet. They tend to weave in and out among the rocks as they move, which makes it harder for an eagle or a photographer to get a good shot. There was a mink posing for photos last week, just waiting for me to include him in a post.

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