Wednesday, July 22, 2009


This morning while jogging along Boise's Greenbelt, I was lucky enough to see a river otter swimming in the Boise River. (It was just downstream from the Highway 21 bridge if you want to look for it).

Otters are one of the most fun animals to observe, as they seem to always be active: swimming, diving, fishing, playing.

A few weeks ago, I had an even closer otter encounter at Yellowstone National Park, where a family of them intercepted cutthroat trout migrating from Trout Lake to a very small stream to spawn. The hundreds of trout packed into the stream was an incredible sight on its own.

Of course, wherever large concentrations of prey congregate, you'll undoubtedly find predators.
The otters feasted on this bounty . They bit, ripped and teared, smacked their lips, and then soon swam away to find another trout. It was an excellent opportunity to observe these animals from just a few yards away. It's definitely worth checking out if you're in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone.

River otters were once found over much of North America. They thrive in a variety of habitats, from rivers to coastal wetlands. They do not thrive, however, with pollution. The presence of otters is an indication of good water quality.

In Idaho and surrounding states, you can see otters in a variety of waterways. The Henry's Fork, Main Salmon River, Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Boise River and Silver Creek are just a few of the places you may encounter this interesting animal. --Matt Miller

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