Last winter, I showed you photos of an otter on my pond, and commented on March 1 that she seemed a little fat. She then disappeared from view at just the time of year when pregnant females retreat to their dens and prepare to give birth.
Twice this summer I have glimpsed what looked like a pair of otters, one much smaller than the other. And now I have proof.
They typically give birth between February and April, and the young stay with the mother for up to ten months, or through the early part of the first winter. They have 2-4 young, and in the past I have seen an adult with two young ones, but not more. This time I just saw the one youngster, and it must be somewhere between 8 and 11 months, so it could be getting close to setting out on its own. Right now, though, it is still nuzzling affectionately up to its mother:
After a few moments the mother decided to go fishing:
And somewhat reluctantly the youngster followed her:
The next day I saw just the mother, but the youngster was chirping in the distance, and the mother was clearly quite agitated, as this video shows.
The next day, a single otter again, but I think it was the young one because I glimpsed that white patch on its side. It looks rather as if the young one is making long independent forays on its own, like any teenager, and sooner or later it just won’t come back, and she will be an empty-nester. Or maybe she has to shove it out into the big bad world…
But then, today, Christmas Day, a wonderful sight. Normally I would be inside cooking and eating, but my family couldn’t reach us because of Covid contacts, or ice on the roads (some of them will come tomorrow instead), so I went out in the snow. And there were three otters, far away, blurred by snow, but definitely three of them.
So I am sharing my Christmas gift with you, and I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday, delayed or on time, with family or friends if at all possible.