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Otter Ingenuity

1-30-14 otter slides  058North American River Otter tracks are usually found where otters have travelled from one body of water to another. In the winter, this can be on frozen streams as well as over land. If they come to an incline, even a small one, they often take advantage of it by letting gravity do the work on the way down. In this photograph, two otters travelling together had the same idea at the same time, and reached the marsh at the bottom of the hill by effortlessly sliding down the hill on their bellies, leaving two 12-inch-wide grooves in the snow. Although John James Audubon, in the mid-1800s, observed a pair of otters sliding down an embankment over and over 22 times, stopping only when they discovered that they were being observed, the otters that made the tracks in this photograph were intent on getting where they were going, and only slid down once.

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5 responses

  1. HW

    They are definitely playful and enjoy sliding with running starts on even ground (our frozen lake) as well.

    January 30, 2014 at 2:03 pm

  2. What a great mental picture! I love tracking–after a while you can almost SEE what the animal did to leave those precise tracks.

    January 30, 2014 at 3:34 pm

  3. I wonder if humans got the idea for sledding from otters? 🙂

    January 30, 2014 at 4:51 pm

  4. Very cool. I saw a similar set of tracks/trails recently when I was out looking for bobcat signs in Vernon, VT… no bobcats, but now I know where to look for Otters 🙂

    January 30, 2014 at 9:49 pm

  5. Dianne Jewett

    I have never seen that.

    January 30, 2014 at 10:16 pm

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