A friendly otter, who was apparently tired of swimming, jumped onto a canoe to say hello to the paddlers. In a clip that has gone viral on Facebook, we see the otter make himself comfortable aboard the vessel, where he is welcomed by an excited canoer.
Otters, which are carnivorous mammals, can be semiaquatic, aquatic or marine, feeding mainly on fish and invertebrates. They belong to the Lutrinae branch of the weasel family Mustelidae, which also includes badgers, honey badgers, martens, minks, polecats, and wolverines.
Given their outgoing personalities, the relationship of otters with humans is usually friendly. They are by nature playful animals that engage in activities, such as making waterslides, simply for enjoyment. They can also be seen playing with rocks and other objects.
Though humans throughout history have hunted otters for their fur, they don’t seem to hold a grudge, since, for generations, they have helped fishermen in southern Bangladesh chase fish into their nets.
In Native American cultures, otters are considered totem animals, and in the Zoroastrian religion, they are considered to be a clean animal belonging to Ahura Mazda, and therefore taboo to kill.
The video of the adorable canoe riding otter should be reason enough to celebrate Sea Otter Awareness Week, held the last week in September, which pays tribute to these friendly creatures.
The US is home to two species: the sea otter and the North American river otter, and approximately 90 percent of the world’s sea otters live in coastal Alaska in the waters surrounding public lands including Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, Kenai Fjords National Park, and Glacier Bay National Park. Southern sea otters inhabit the mainland coastline of California from San Mateo County to Santa Barbara County and San Nicolas Island.