I was confused upon seeing my first semi-wild otter in South America. But for some eye and nose issues, it looked very much like our North American river otter (Lutra canadensis). If this was a giant otter, it must be a baby. I stared and stared, trying to reconcile what I was seeing with what I had been expecting to see. It was a gorgeous little thing.
As became abundantly clear in just a few moments, this was not a giant Amazon otter, but a Neotropical river otter, Lontra longicaudus. A life mammal, to be sure, and endangered (CITES Appendix 1). It was out of habitat here in this silty, slow-moving river, having been brought to Diane as a purported giant otter from an unknown locale. Neotropical river otters inhabit clearer, faster-flowing streams than do giant Amazonian otters. Nevertheless, Diane accepted it and raised it, and it has given vital companionship to the star of the show and central focus of Diane's life work.
Hello!Oh my! What nice pink lips you have!At this point I had been away from home for several days and was jonesing heavily for Chet Baker. This otter's googly eyes and floppy lips did something for me. If you've always had a Thing for Otters, as I have, a Boston terrier is the next best thing. And unlike otters, they're perfectly legal to keep as pets!
to be continued...