Video: The Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary July 25. 2010
Video: Gracie's Full Swim Video With Captions July 24. 2010
I posted a news video of Gracie the otter as she learns how to swim but here's the full video with subtitles courtesy of the Florida Aquarium. I guess I'll have to arrange a vacation to Florida to visit Gracie.
Urban Otters Terrorizing Your Fish Pond July 23. 2010
If you're in the UK you might be delighted to see cute otters around unless they're after your koi. There have been a lot of reports in the past about otters eating expensive koi so you better make sure your yard is otter proof!
From the Daily Mail: Don't be fooled by the fluffy whiskers and cute appearance. Beneath the cuddly exterior lurks a fearsome predator – if you have a garden pond.
Otters are abandoning their natural hunting grounds of rivers and lakes to prey on fish in domestic gardens.
In some cases, they have wiped out prized stocks of koi carp, which can be worth up to £25,000 each.
Nature experts said work to increase otters’ dwindling numbers in the 1990s has led to a population explosion today, driving them into urban areas to forage for food.
Kevin Mann, 48, lost his entire stock of 17 koi carp in just three weeks after otters raided his garden in Barford, near Norwich, Norfolk.
My favorite thing about this article is a small "otter fact" box that states such fun otter facts like:
- Hermione Granger's patronus takes the shape of an otter in Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix.
- Fishermen in southern Bangladesh breed otters and train them to chase fish into their nets.
- The word otter stems from the Old English word 'otor' or 'oter', which also gave rise to the word 'water'.
- The mammals can be referred to with several collective nouns - bevy, family, lodge, romp, or raft (when in the water).
Video: River Otters - Feeding and Frolicking July 19. 2010
Video: Peek-A-Boo July 18. 2010
Video: Baby Otter's Swim Lesson July 16. 2010
Believe it or not, river otters are not all born swimmers. There have been several cases where the baby otters are even afraid of the water. But for little Gracie at the Florida Aquarium it only took a few fishy treats to get her into the water for the first time.
Otter Starts A Band July 16. 2010
Everyone wants to join a band and our favorite otter is no exception!
Last week me and Teddy formed a band, and it’s the best band EVER! Being in a band is a really great thing to do. We’re a 3 piece and we’re called “the Kate fighters”. I do the singing because this is the most important job in the band, Teddy plays drums and our new friend Gertrude the plastic cow plays the keyboard. Otter Keeper is also sort of in the band, he says he’s a “roadie”… which means he carries things for us (I suggested he played an instrument because that’s much more fun – but he declined, he’s strange like that).
Video: A Day In The Life Of Skittle July 11. 2010
Sea Otters Valued at $700 Million Carbon Credits July 8. 2010
What is a carbon credit? It's a value assigned to the offset of greenhouse gas emissions. Companies use carbon credits to compensate for the amount of greenhouse gasses they produce in a year. There are some individuals who plant trees to cover the amount of pollution they cause by driving cars or flying places. The fact that sea otters are worth $700 million carbon credits goes to show how valuable they are to the ecosystem.
From The NewScientist: Want to slow global warming? Save a sea otter. So says Chris Wilmers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, whose team has calculated that the animals remove at least 0.18 kilograms of carbon from the atmosphere for every square metre of occupied coastal waters.
That means that if sea otters were restored to healthy populations along the coasts of North America they could collectively lock up a mammoth 1010 kg of carbon – currently worth more than $700 million on the European carbon-trading market. Wilmers explained this at the annual meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology in Edmonton, Canada, this month.
This kind of news makes me ill. A sea otter in Morro Bay was found fatally shot on July 1st. Otters are protected and the crime is punishable by $10,000 and possible jail time. If you have any information, contact Defenders of Wildlife.