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North American River Otter

Lontra canadensis


Once it saw me standing still on the dock, it approached me and even rolled over on its back like a dog. It came so close as to sniff my knee and walk all around me as if expecting me to play or chase it. It also made funny little sounds as it walked around. Video I took of it: I apologize in advance for the ticking noise, as it apparently has something to do with the case I have on my phone.

It was very friendly for a wild animal, and I am sure it has been habituated by all the people and dogs that walk these docks and it has learned that they will not harm it. It may even be the same otter that was in a viral video a couple of years back playing with dogs next to the same exact ramp.


Fishing docks with mostly commercial and charter fishing boats that many people walk their dogs at.


Locally knowns as land otters because sea otters are seen in much greater frequency here than in many places, so we have sea and land otters.

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Machi 4 years ago

Thanks Mark!

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 4 years ago

What a great experience.

SukanyaDatta 4 years ago

Thanks Machi.

Machi 4 years ago

Sukanya, he definitely did still have some fear. More accustomed to people than the average otter, but with any movement I made too quickly and it would move away. I don't think this otter has much to worry about, as it can easily retreat into the water if it feels threatened, and otters also have some formidable teeth. I think it just rolls on the ground to entice you to chase it, as otters enjoying playing by chasing each other around. Normally I would be more concerned, but this otter seems like it can fend for itself pretty well and still hunts for its own food etc.

SukanyaDatta 4 years ago

So lucky, Machi. Hope this engaging little otter doesn't pay for his fearless trust of humans. Very sweet.

Machi 4 years ago

Thanks Tukup! It was a pretty magical moment.

Tukup 4 years ago

Great series Machi and the video is terrific. Nice to be able to see nature up close and personal. Thanks for sharing that.

Spotted by

Kodiak, Alaska, USA

Spotted on Aug 2, 2019
Submitted on Sep 26, 2019

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