Recent rains increased creek flows and likely, otter movement. Otters rank next to cormorants in pond management circles. They often travel with family groups and can damage fish populations in small ponds quickly.
Otter are the largest furry cousin of the weasel family. Their body shape is slim. Average length is three to five feet with approximate weights of 15 to 30 pounds. A flat tail is about one-third its body length, making them excellent swimmers.
Otters hunt by diving and chasing fish. They can remain under water four minutes and dive 60 feet. Favored habitats are abandoned beaver huts. They’re nocturnal and travel via creeks and rivers.
Watch for worn paths from a creek, up the back of a dam, and into the pond. Look for scat containing fish scales or crayfish remnants. Scat piles are scent posts and may be large from multiple visits. If you require the services of a professional trapper, contact local extension agents for referrals.