An Otter Family Album
November 13, 2006 2:40 PM   Subscribe

An Otter Family Album — for over 20 years, zoologist/educator J. Scott Shannon has been observing the "Clan", five generations of ocean-going river otters living in the bay [YouTube] below the historic town of Trinidad on California's northwest coast.
posted by cenoxo (25 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Thank you so much for this really wonderful post, cenoxo. I only read the album but now I'm interested in all of Shannon's site. He's obviously in love with these otters -- who wouldn't be? That makes the last page of his album even more poignant:

Now it is up to Scoots to continue the lineage. Once again, I am not optimistic. I genuinely fear this population is on a path to extinction. I never imagined this could happen, but it is now a very distinct possibility. I can only hope that Scoots proves me wrong yet again...

These days, I don't know how zoologists manage to do such work without becoming utterly disheartened.
posted by melissa may at 3:58 PM on November 13, 2006

If there is an animal cuter than an otter, I don't know what it is.
posted by mckenney at 4:06 PM on November 13, 2006

If there is an animal cuter than an otter, I don't know what it is.

posted by ericb at 4:11 PM on November 13, 2006

posted by fire&wings at 4:24 PM on November 13, 2006

Thank you. Excellent.
posted by ltracey at 4:48 PM on November 13, 2006

I got to swim with some otters in Alaska once. They were really cool. It really was like a movie.

If there is an animal cuter than an otter, I don't know what it is.

Yes. And NOT that dumb ugly kitty kat of ericb's either. BAD KITTY!

I'm currently breeding a Meerkat / Otter / Lemur hybrid.

A LeMotmeer.

Soon I will have a creature with such high concentrations of cute just one look will cause you to digest your own eyes.

posted by tkchrist at 4:49 PM on November 13, 2006

I Love It!
posted by owhydididoit at 4:53 PM on November 13, 2006

ericb: you're insane, dude! :P

Otters are the cutest things out there. I love otters. I think that they're absolutely adorable and pretty darn amusing.
posted by drstein at 5:28 PM on November 13, 2006

Aside from the cute factor, I think what attracts us to otters (and vice versa?) is their unbounded curiosity and relaxed attitude towards people.

My wife and I once visited an aquarium which had two captive sea otters in a very large plexiglass-walled tank. It was a slow day with few visitors, and one kid was playing with the otters by running back and forth in front of the clear tank. They dove and swam right along with him in a game of underwater tag.

After the boy and his parents moved on, we were the only people in the exhibit. Of all places that the otters could have gone inside the tank, they swam over within a few feet of where we were standing, floated on their backs, and started grooming their fur.

Just hangin' to be sociable, I guess.
posted by cenoxo at 5:55 PM on November 13, 2006

great post...thanks....
posted by HuronBob at 5:57 PM on November 13, 2006

They're pretty handy with their paws, too...
posted by cenoxo at 6:16 PM on November 13, 2006

Handier than you'd think.
posted by sourwookie at 6:29 PM on November 13, 2006

Heh. That otter in cenoxo's link is doing it's Steve McQueen "Great Escape" impression.

The movie version of "Ring of Bright Water" is just nuts. Writer Guy moves to Scotland, sexy Scottish Doctor clearly wants to jump his bones, but Writer Guy is obsessed with "Mij" (convincingly played by a genuine otter).

Writer Guy: I'd like to invite you to a birthday party!
Sexy Scottish Doctor [hopeful]: Oh! Is it your birthday?
Writer Guy: It's for my otter.

Then Writer Guy builds an enormous plate glass aquarium for his otter, while Sexy Scottish Doctor looks on helplessly.

Mij (sensibly) escapes for a bit, while Writer Guy moons about, bellowing "MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIJ!!!"

CurrentEventsFilter: Mij the otter is from Iraq!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 6:39 PM on November 13, 2006

Holy crap. I love otters.

I always maintained I could take over the world by making everyone go into paroxysms of "AWWWWWWW" with a combined air, ground and amphibian assault of puffins, red panda, emperor penguin and otter forces.
posted by kkokkodalk at 7:02 PM on November 13, 2006

I was less than six years old when I saw the trailer for Ring of Bright Water. It was enough to traumatize me so much that even though I loved the book, I never wanted to see the movie. Still haven't.
posted by dhartung at 7:04 PM on November 13, 2006

Oh, fabulous post cenoxo, I needed some otters in my day today!
posted by madamjujujive at 7:21 PM on November 13, 2006

with a combined air, ground and amphibian assault of puffins, red panda, emperor penguin and otter forces

And Mr Winkle as their deranged, power-mad Generalissimo.
posted by Sparx at 7:26 PM on November 13, 2006

kkokkodalk: you should definitely get to the new Asia Trail at the National Zoo if you're ever down in DC. Asian small-clawed otters and red pandas right next to each other!
posted by kdar at 7:26 PM on November 13, 2006

I dreamed I was an otter once, swimming along the edge of a tide. When I awoke, I realized I had had an otter body experience.
posted by eegphalanges at 9:26 PM on November 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

Water Dogs: their curiosity matches their size.
posted by cenoxo at 10:21 PM on November 13, 2006

When Maxwell returned from Iraq, Mij and he lived in his Kensington flat. He used to take Mij out for walks round central London on a lead.
posted by johnny novak at 2:07 AM on November 14, 2006

No post about otters would be complete without Otter Pops. Delicious, and they make great costumes, although mine was much, much better.
posted by mano at 7:42 AM on November 14, 2006

Btw, meet Morgan and Friends! They're cute like Charlie Manson. Hella cute.
posted by mano at 7:52 AM on November 14, 2006

This Ring of Bright Water fan site has photos from the book of Edal the otter and Gavin Maxwell's cottage (and a more recent Camusfeàrna slide show.) The Maxwell family site has a brief biography of Gavin Maxwell written by his nephew: it sounds like Gavin was a bit of a wild man.

In 1989, J. Scott Shannon made his own Pilgrimage to Camusfeàrna and took many pictures, including the graves of Maxwell (d. 1969) and Edal.
posted by cenoxo at 8:46 AM on November 14, 2006

Actually, kkokkodalk can get an otter/red panda twofer right here in NYC -- at the small (but packed w/cuteness) Prospect Park Zoo. Not only are the red pandas and otters on the same path, but they're just around the corner from the wallabies, which sometimes come right up to the path and there's nothing really between you and them.

You want you some sweet meerkat action? Steps away, my friend, steps away.
posted by BT at 9:08 AM on November 14, 2006

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