Critter of the Quarter: River Otters
Although River Otters were very rare in the Bay Area only 25 years ago, they are now a common species that we often find in Moorhen and McNabney Marshes, and surrounding waterways. When we see otters, they bring to mind a group of puppies that can’t seem to stop playing. This ability to spend time “playing” is a sign that otters are very efficient at finding food. In the area around Martinez, River Otters catch and eat carp, sculpins, and other slow-moving fish, but their specialty is crayfish.
Otters tend to be active in the morning and the evening, but can be observed any time of day. They are often swimming and hunting in small groups of 2 or 3, but at Moorhen Marsh, we’ve seen groups of otters—often called a bevy or a romp—of more than 10. Although otters were historically prized for their fur, today they are valued for the role they play in the ecosystem, and for their beauty to all of those lucky enough to see them.