BG_NJ

Otter sighting

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Hit the surf to test drive some of my new toys from BSC Saturday late afternoon.. Looked up from tying a knot at one point and made eye contact with an otter cruising about 3-4 yards out just past the lip.. tried to keep up with him and capture some video but no shot matching his speed in waders with my gear on land..

 

Pretty cool I didn't realize they pass by down here so close to shore.. Fog was pretty heavy so wonder if that's what made him feel secure being in such shallow water..

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The otters that you see in NJ (whether in salt water or fresh) are river otters (.Lontra canadensis).  They aren't the same as sea otters (which are native to the Pacific), so they are land-based.  Even so, they're not that common, so you were lucky to see one.

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2 hours ago, East Coaster said:

The otters that you see in NJ (whether in salt water or fresh) are river otters (.Lontra canadensis).  They aren't the same as sea otters (which are native to the Pacific), so they are land-based.  Even so, they're not that common, so you were lucky to see one.

More common than you might think, I've seen them in N Barnegat bay.  And a neighbor had video of them playing on his pool tarp a week or two ago.

 

My grandfather tanned a pelt from one that died in his garden 15 or so years ago.

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On 5/16/2022 at 10:09 PM, East Coaster said:

The otters that you see in NJ (whether in salt water or fresh) are river otters (.Lontra canadensis).  They aren't the same as sea otters (which are native to the Pacific), so they are land-based.  Even so, they're not that common, so you were lucky to see one.

interesting! So these things just spend most of their time out back in NJ's tidal rivers or more likely other states?

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22 hours ago, makorider said:

More common than you might think, I've seen them in N Barnegat bay.  And a neighbor had video of them playing on his pool tarp a week or two ago.

 

My grandfather tanned a pelt from one that died in his garden 15 or so years ago.

Wow! Yeah I had no idea it was even possible to encounter any version of an otter a few yards off the beach in NJ. Very cool to see the effortless speed they are capable of.

 

His whole demeanor seemed very intelligent. Felt like my motion to reach for my phone to take a pic spooked him.. then he went under and in just a few seconds he popped up 20-30 yards further south.. then pretty sure he turned offshore and disappeared into the fog.

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We had a family of otters living at our dock in Wildwood. Two adults and three young. One of the adults was missing a leg. These pics were taken on a piece of floating dock right next to a crowded restaurant. 014_zpsc0fa26f5.jpg.d7076561e57a7471f9ba3fbef044597b.jpg

 

010_zpsd3549896.jpg.cfb37a14e969f68f92ea2e3d1edf082a.jpg 

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Anybody know what their preferred food source is here in NJ ? They say in NJ currently they are mostly found closer to the coast, I was also reading they have preference for panfish sized meals of weaker swimming fish, small minnows and big gamefish don't seem to be on the menu.

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4 hours ago, JerseyJeb said:

Anybody know what their preferred food source is here in NJ ? They say in NJ currently they are mostly found closer to the coast, I was also reading they have preference for panfish sized meals of weaker swimming fish, small minnows and big gamefish don't seem to be on the menu.

The otters at our dock ate just about everything. They love crabs and small fish like spots. Can clean out a spot pen in one night. Also scavengers. After a day of fishing one of our charter boat captains tossed a bunch of summer flounder racks off the cleaning board. Next morning they were all lined up on our dock and every bit of flesh had been cleaned off the bones. In the evening we could hear them under our dock cracking and chewing on crab shells. Also dug up clams and smashed them open. One or more would come up on the deck at night and get into the cat food. They aren't picky.

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22 hours ago, DoorGunner said:

We had a family of otters living at our dock in Wildwood. Two adults and three young. One of the adults was missing a leg. These pics were taken on a piece of floating dock right next to a crowded restaurant. 014_zpsc0fa26f5.jpg.d7076561e57a7471f9ba3fbef044597b.jpg

 

010_zpsd3549896.jpg.cfb37a14e969f68f92ea2e3d1edf082a.jpg 

Ok these guys look a lot less friendly than the one I saw :D 

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1 min ago, BG_NJ said:

Ok these guys look a lot less friendly than the one I saw :D 

The otter on the right in the first pic is the one missing it's left front leg. It was funny as hell when the entire family climbed up on the floating dock while a load of people who were waiting for a table watched. The two adults pissed and crapped and the youngsters rolled around in it. A few of the women looking down gagged. 

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6 mins ago, DoorGunner said:

The otter on the right in the first pic is the one missing it's left front leg. It was funny as hell when the entire family climbed up on the floating dock while a load of people who were waiting for a table watched. The two adults pissed and crapped and the youngsters rolled around in it. A few of the women looking down gagged. 

That's amazing haha. You know as I'm looking at your pics closer and thinking back to my encounter on the beach.. I am now leaning towards what I saw as actually being a seal. 

 

Distinctly remember a lighter gray body, larger eyes, and overall just a larger animal based on the size of his upper body and head that breached the surface.

 

Would that be a more/less bizarre encounter in the NJ surf?

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Yah Atlantic Harbor Seal... pretty positive that's what it was now that I have an exact species in the search bar..

Seals-taken-from-Kayak-on-Taunton-Bay-in-Hancock-4.jpeg

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7 mins ago, BG_NJ said:

That's amazing haha. You know as I'm looking at your pics closer and thinking back to my encounter on the beach.. I am now leaning towards what I saw as actually being a seal. 

 

Distinctly remember a lighter gray body, larger eyes, and overall just a larger animal based on the size of his upper body and head that breached the surface.

 

Would that be a more/less bizarre encounter in the NJ surf?

We get a decent amount of seals on the beach and also in the back bays early in the season. I think they follow the herring in. Have only seen otters in the back and more frequent over the past twenty years. Saw my first one back in 83 while anchored up a narrow tidal creek trapping minnows. Just sitting in the boat and saw this long brown critter swimming right down the creek towards me. I was still and he didn't even notice me till he was about ten feet away. Did a quick flip over while taking a dump and back up the creek.  

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