This is the time of year abandoned otter pups are spotted trying to make it on their own. If you see an otter, do not approach it and please immediately call the CMA stranding line at 727-441-1790 ext. 234. Some people describe them as looking like brown ferrets from a distance.
Adult female otters have litters of anywhere between one and six. In nature, not all can keep up and some can get left behind or encounter obstacles. Otter moms nurse and assist in the development of vital life skills in their first year of life. Mom will often catch and release prey for the pups to practice their skills. Without mom to protect them, pups are vulnerable to predation and lack life skills related to finding food.
North American river otters are fresh water animals and can be found throughout North America in rivers, streams, lakes and ponds. They are in the Mustilidae family, which also includes ferrets, skunks, weasels and sea otters. North American river otters are not endangered and due to decreased habitats, are often found in residential neighborhoods or other populated areas.
As part of its free speaker series, CMA will host a presentation on April 15 at 6 p.m. on “All About Otters.”
Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a Florida non-profit organization, dedicated to marine life rescue, rehabilitation and release, and environmental education. More information on the CMA can be found at www.SeeWinter.com.