We all love the West and Rhode Rivers for numerous reasons. One of the reasons for many of us is that they support an abundance of wildlife. This summer, we had another visit from a pod of dolphins (see here). Also this summer, former Director and long-term supporter Adam Hewison captured this video of another fun critter: a river otter.
The video is taken from his dock on the West River, near the mouth of Parish Creek. The North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis) is native to our waterways. They can weigh between 10 and 30 lbs, and sport a thick, water-repellent coat of fur. They eat mostly fish and shellfish, and are known for being playful and fun to watch.
River otters were once very common in our area, but now are only rarely seen. Their population has been reduced by loss of habitat, and they are also susceptible to environmental pollution. We hope that we can improve the health of our rivers to the point where river otters will once again be a common site.