We had an interesting River Otter sighting this past weekend. Like most I have experienced, this one was fleeting, with little chance for quality photographs because of intervening vegetation. But, the viewing was good, and the behavior was unusual enough to merit mention.

We came across this River Otter deep in the woods. He was busying himself in what only could be described as a large puddle of collected rain water. At this location, we were several dozen yards/meters away from Trinity River or any other body of standing water.

When we saw each other, the otter’s first reaction was curiosity, but shortly thereafter he decided to bolt. He turned from us and ran headlong across the open forest floor, heading in the general direction of the Trinity River. The safety of the river was a distant promise though, as the otter had anywhere from 50 to 100 yards/meters to cover to get there. That’s a lot of ground to traverse on foot for this semi-aquatic mammal.

The inset picture is the best we could manage from this sighting.
The inset picture is the best we could manage from this sighting. Ben Sandifer

11 Replies to “River Otter – Field and Stream”

  1. My wife and I are going crazy trying to figure out what we have seen/heard. 4 years ago i was walking westbound on Frankford road just east of Cemetery Hill (Carrollton) around 9 pm. It was just turning dark and I was walking on the overpass for the walkway when I heard a splash. I Looked in the water and could faintly see something resembling an otter. As it was dark, I couldn’t really make it out. Fast forward to Tuesday, April 2nd around 8 PM. Same spot, wife and I were walking and heard a huge splash. Didn’t see what it was but it had to have been fairly large to make the sound splash that it did. Sounded like when you throw a large chunk of concrete in a pond of water. No one else around so It had to be a critter! We are going to walk this are every night for a week or so and see if we can find what this is. It’s driving us crazy!

    1. Well, Todd, when you hear a splash in the water around here you first have to think Red-eared Slider. If you can eliminate the turtle as a possibility, then you can move on to the Nutria, Beaver, and then River Otter… probably in that order. Might need to consider some water fowl and a snake or two as well. If you were able to turn up a River Otter that far up on Furneaux Creek it would really be a special find!

      1. Mystery solved! It’s a beaver. Wife and I went for a walk yesterday evening and the stars aligned! Just as we were walking over the bridge we heard a splash and saw it. It popped its head up for a few seconds then swam underneath the bridge. Water was clear enough to get a good look nut not good enough for a decent picture. It was quite large – almost the size of our Border Collie! So after 4 years of wondering and looking – my life is now complete! 🙂

      2. Well now, that makes sense! We have lots of Beavers in Carrollton. There is a half mile stretch of creek that runs close to my house that has at least 4 beaver dams! Good job on the detective work!

      3. Now my concern is for our Border Collie. She absolutely loves getting in the water. Doing some searching and I am reading quite about about beavers and dogs fighting and some dogs getting killed. We are going to try and keep her water activities limited to the ponds rather than the actual creek as we have never seen beavers in the ponds.

        Incidentally, I guess we have impeccable timing as last night when we were walking over the bridge, the one just on the North side of the 1700 block of Frankford, just East of Cemetery Hill, we saw a beaver swimming with a clump of grass. Guess he was working on his summer home!

      4. I think I may stop by there one evening pretty soon and have a look around. Maybe I can locate the dam. If you happen to see someone down there tromping around in the weeds with a big-lensed camera strapped around their neck, wave me over and say hello!


    2. I couldn’t get a photo, but i observed an adult otter for several minutes. At one point he was less that 20 feet away. It was on a creek leading into Lavon lake. I’ve seen numerous otters in far east texas at Caddo lake, but never this far west.

      1. Thanks for the report, Wade. Otters appear to becoming more and more numerous in the area, but it is still a rare event to actually see one!


  2. I have a cappy video of one I saw along the damaged at Lake Lavon November 2017. Can’t see how to attach it

  3. We saw two today at Lake Lavon. They seem to have a den in the rocks along the railroad tressel.

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