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Back where he otter be
January 5, 2013 10:16 AM   Subscribe

For the first time in more than half a century, there is a river otter living in San Francisco. Photos. Photos and video.

Experts aren't sure how the otter, dubbed "Sutro Sam" by his admirers, got to the Sutro Baths ruins, where he's been living for the past few weeks, but speculate he may have paddled across the mouth of the Bay from Marin County or stowed away on a boat.

Of course, no MeFite would be foolish enough to let their dog jump in to swim with Sutro Sam like one of the people in the second-linked article did (NOW WOULD YOU). For those in the area who'd like to see him, apparently there's a good view from a nearby restaurant (which, incidentally, has been family-owned and operated since it opened in 1937).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, he even has a Twitter account.
posted by Lexica (25 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
There are lots of Otters in San Fransisco, they're usually wearing skinny jeans and flannel tops.
posted by The Whelk at 10:23 AM on January 5, 2013 [13 favorites]


People who let their dog swim with the otter are idiots, for many reasons. Especially if this otter is from the clan in the Rodeo Lagoon (in the Marin Headlands), where they've been successfully hunting pelicans for a couple of generations now - to the point where pelicans very rarely hang out in the lagoon anymore.

But! Yay otter in SF!
posted by rtha at 10:23 AM on January 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


In his San Francisco digs, 'Sutro Sam' is living just as he otter

O o
~~~
posted by JHarris at 10:29 AM on January 5, 2013


Yay! Urban river otter!
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:30 AM on January 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


It was probably the only place he could afford.
posted by Kitteh at 10:52 AM on January 5, 2013 [13 favorites]


This is cool. River otters live on the other side of the bay (where it's more wild) from where we live in town. A friend of mine took some photos of river otters near where we live, so they must have traveled across the bay to get here.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:59 AM on January 5, 2013


Am I the only one who kind of want to introduce a female to his habitat and let them repopulate the Sutro baths?
posted by maryr at 11:01 AM on January 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've seen him eating these great big golden fish that look like carp.

I have an idea!
posted by desjardins at 11:06 AM on January 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Mrs. Tenor likes otters very much. I am thinking we should go up there and visit.
posted by madcaptenor at 11:08 AM on January 5, 2013


River otters are assholes. There was a romp of otters (yes, romp is a proper term for a group of otters!) living near a house on the waterfront in Victoria where we were renting a few years ago. I took our 1-year-old daughter out to look at them. Every time they saw you they'd hiss and bark at you. It felt very much like we were getting booed. And, they're a lot bigger than they look. They can be 6 feet long and resemble a furry horizontal doberman. They could probably break the skin.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:13 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yay! I hope this is a sign of repopulation of otters and other wildlife.

Also, I would just like to point out that we live in a wonderful age. This video of an otter was taken yesterday and we get to watch it today thousands of miles away.
posted by arcticseal at 11:35 AM on January 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


They could probably break the skin.

Yep.
posted by wreckingball at 11:38 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who kind of want to introduce a female to his habitat and let them repopulate the Sutro baths?

Nope. In fact, given his not being afraid of people, I'm kind of wondering if Sam wasn't released there by someone illegally keeping him as a pet until they realized that maintaining any kind of healthy environment for such a creature would be a huge undertaking. Of course, lots of people keep animals they shouldn't and never have this realization so maybe he did just make the swim.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:24 PM on January 5, 2013


Are we sure he doesn't just want to start up another S.F. jug band?
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:49 PM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is this where I post Sir Jarlsbergs tribute to rivers and otters?
posted by lkc at 2:18 PM on January 5, 2013


River otters are assholes. There was a romp of otters (yes, romp is a proper term for a group of otters!) living near a house on the waterfront in Victoria where we were renting a few years ago. I took our 1-year-old daughter out to look at them. Every time they saw you they'd hiss and bark at you. It felt very much like we were getting booed. And, they're a lot bigger than they look. They can be 6 feet long and resemble a furry horizontal doberman. They could probably break the skin.

Sea otters (which, according to the CRD website I linked upthread, can weigh as much as 45 kilograms - can that be right???) are known for biting surfers in Tofino, up the west coast of the Island.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:10 PM on January 5, 2013


Kid Charlemagne, I thought the same thing.
posted by dlugoczaj at 4:55 PM on January 5, 2013


River otters are assholes. There was a romp of otters (yes, romp is a proper term for a group of otters!) living near a house on the waterfront in Victoria where we were renting a few years ago. I took our 1-year-old daughter out to look at them. Every time they saw you they'd hiss and bark at you. It felt very much like we were getting booed. And, they're a lot bigger than they look. They can be 6 feet long and resemble a furry horizontal doberman. They could probably break the skin.

Or, you know, they're just wild animals.
posted by weeyin at 5:40 PM on January 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


My sister and her boyfriend just arrived in San Francisco for a week's vacation. I may have just sent her this so she can find Sutro Sam and squee at him for me.
posted by alynnk at 7:26 PM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


My friend and her mom evidently went to visit and took pictures earlier today and she sent some to me and now she is the best friend.

The best friend.
posted by flaterik at 7:33 PM on January 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


There are river otters living in the Chicago River, at least the north branch. Their return is viewed as quite the triumph of turning the river from a horrible toxic mess to mearly a minor toxic mess. I don't think the population density is nearly high enough to stave off the Asian carp invasion. With the carp in the Sanitary and Shipping canal, which I doubt would offer suitable habitat for otters even if it were pristine, there isn't a long trip through the river to keep the carp out of lake Michigan.
posted by borkencode at 11:20 PM on January 5, 2013


Asked about the return of their long departed rivals, the sea lions of Fisherman's Wharf were heard to say "ARRRRR? ARR arr ARRR arrrr AARRRRR! PPPPppfffffht."
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:33 AM on January 6, 2013 [3 favorites]




Thanks for posting this. Otter was totally there, swimming around like a giant amazing weasel. I did not witness it myself, but there was a report that he ate a duck this morning. Combined with Beignet Sunday at Devil's Teeth Bakery, greatest morning ever?

The weather is so clear at this time of year I understand why people move to the Sunset. Gorgeous.
posted by purpleclover at 10:27 AM on January 13, 2013


The weather is so clear at this time of year I understand why people move to the Sunset. Gorgeous.

I moved to the Sunset (from the Mission) because it feels a lot less crazy than some of the more "popular" (i. e. northeastern) parts of San Francisco.

(Okay, I moved there because my girlfriend lives there and it was moving-in-together time. But that's part of the reason we chose to stay in her place instead of finding a new one.)
posted by madcaptenor at 1:12 PM on January 21, 2013


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