Otter On The Dock

27 Jun 2011 Wildlife Stories

River Otter At The CottageA river otter paid us a peculiar visit one sunny morning last week.
Enjoying a morning coffee while I surveyed the front of the property from the living room window, I saw a playful otter hop gracefully out of the water and right up onto the dock.

River Otter On The Cottage Dock

We often see the otters in the river feeding on crayfish but this was the first time one came out into the open during the day.

Quickly grabbing the camera, I managed to snap this photo from inside the cabin as the otter propped itself up at the side of the aluminium boat, as if it were waiting for me to come down and take it for a ride.

Would an otter be required by law to wear a life jacket?

After taking a few more pictures through the cabin window I quietly headed out the back door and around the cottage to try to get a closer shot. By the time I made it down to the water our guest had already moved on.

We know the otters use the dock during the evening. They often leave nasty little presents for us to clean up in the morning, and despite this inconvenience, I had hoped to get a photo of the river otters during the day. Finally, I was fortunate enough to see it lounging on the dock in broad daylight and it didn’t even leave a mess.

I have no idea if it was cruising around on a solo getaway, or if the rest of the family of river otters living in the area were nearby and I simply didn’t see them. Maybe it just needed some alone time, which is what the cabin is often all about.

Written and photographed by: Andrew Walker



  • Mike said:

    Hi!I’ve been having a ball looking through your website, and thoroughly enjoy reading your tips – just have to let you know that the river otters were constant visitors — wonderful to watch, though we didn’t always appreciate them using the dock as an outhouse.   Before we had electricity, I’d occasionally leave extra fish on a stringer off the dock, which would mysteriously disappear, until I realized that the otters thought we were inviting them for dinner!  The most marvelous thing about a cabin, is that it allows us to really become one with nature  . . .Mike

  • Mike said:

    We had a freaky experience a couple Sundays ago.  Our bay window overlooking our back yard was closed early Sunday morning when all of a sudden there was a large bang against the window.  When I opened the blind there was a large hawk with a stunned quail in its talons on the ground below the window.  Seeing me, the hawk took the quail and flew over towards three large pines we have in the corner of our yard.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have a lens with sufficient power to get a picture, as I was afraid he’d take off again if I tried to get close.  As coincidence would have it a friend of ours in the local birders’ society was coming over for brunch.   When she arrived he was still working on his “lunch” pulling out entrails with gusto.   She assured me that my guess as to what type of hawk was wrong, but couldn’t make up her mind.  After phoning another friend, they decided he was a young goshawk.  Several hours after his strike, he casually flew off, leaving only a few feathers. Later Barb reminded me that the bird who’d caught a spruce grouse and crashed through the screen into our gazebo one day when we were in Winnipeg, was also a goshawk.  Only he remained in the gazebo until a passing neighbour heard his cries and let him out.  Unfortunately when we arrived the gazebo was a mess, with blood, feathers all over the place! It seems that goshawks must have an affinity for us–perhaps I’ll take him as my totem. (Barb long ago chose the turtles in our bay, though I’ve always thought that the puddle duck that took a liking to her was more appropriate)