Thursday, February 03, 2005

Otter in da Water

Before moving to the country, I never realized that there were otters in north Alabama. I was pretty surprised the first time I saw them.

Jasmine thinks that they are trespassers.

So does Hubby.

They have eaten most of the catfish from our ponds, and are currently working on the bass, bream, and grass carp.

I still think they are cute.

Apparently, otters used to be fairly scarce, but are now on the increase. They are more numerous because beavers are also more plentiful.

The reason that beavers are multiplying is that beaver pelts are now worth diddly-squat, so trappers don’t bother with them anymore.

Less beaver pelts taken = more beavers = more dam building = more flooding = more otter habitat = more otters.

Beavers have now reached nuisance levels in many areas, and trappers here are catching them for landowners at $50 a head, with a 5-beaver minimum. I doubt that they ever got that much for pelts.

Red State Diaries recently had a story from the Huntsville Times about a man being successfully sued for $30,000 because he failed to remove beavers from his land before they caused flooding damage to his neighbor’s property.


shannon said...

I think the only thing our shaded, wooded ponds could support is the ocasional turtle! I'm jealous! I used to take care of the otters at the bronx zoo, and loved their chittering away when we threw them treats (mealworms). Certainly sounds like they're doing in your fish, but at least they have entertainment value - a snapper can't say that!

Anonymous said...

I think they are cute, too! I love the photos on your blog.


Rurality said...

I don't know Shannon, we had a snapper last summer that was about the size of a Volkswagen. That was before the dog.

SM, thanks, I've been enjoying your blog ever since your okra posts last summer.

orphyus said...

There's some irony for ya...some wildlife you can actually appreciate move into the neighborhood, and there goes your fishery. The otters will move on, I suppose, you'll restock, and then they'll probably come back. How do you win?

Here in Lexington we have red-tailed hawks perched on traffic lights. Occasionally I'll see one soaring overhead. Incongruous, but it always makes me smile to see them. I always wonder if anyone else notices.

Susan said...

Hey that's neat! I have a sister in Asheville, she's never mentioned the otters in the region! Do you ever see the young?


Rurality said...

Orphyus, we have lots of red tails here but I always enjoy seeing them.

Susan, apparently when we have been seeing three otters at a time, one is the mother and the others are the young. But they are as big as she is by then. After they are a little older I think they all go their separate ways and are loners until the next mating season.

Dave said...

You are so lucky! if I were you'ns, I'd be stocking the pond just for the otters.