NANFA-- River Otters!
Sun, 6 Jan 2002 10:19:23 EST

Yesterday I went to Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge outside of Seymour,
Indiana (about half way between Indianapolis and Louisville). It is a
managed wetlands, well known by birders. Unfortunately, most areas are
forbidden to fishing or collecting. Areas outside of the Refuge were too
high to collect.

Anyway, I got to see River Otters! These things are very, very cool! The
first one was sitting next to a hole in the ice eating a large fish. I could
not see it clearly but figure it was a bowfin (lots of them around there) or
a catfish. Two more came up through the hole and joined the first one. They
appear to be very social creatures, gently playing and nudging each other.
One wandered off a ways on the ice and came right back. All three then laid
there grooming each other. I didn't have my camera and missed a "Hallmark
Moment" when all three had their heads together and watched a truck go by.
They were larger than I expected: I estimate from head to base of tail to be
around three feet or more.

Donna, the Refuge's law enforcement officer, told me I was very lucky to see
them that close. I figure I was only about 60 feet away. It was worth the
trip just to see them!

River Otters have been gone from Indiana since about 1942 and were first
reintroduced to the state in 1995 just a few hundred yards from where I saw

links to more information

<A HREF="">Outdoor Indiana</A>

<A HREF="">River Otter Alliance
-Indiana River Otter Reintroduction Program</A>

<A HREF="">The River Otter</A>

I didn't collect any fish or see the two adult Bald Eagles that are reported
to be staying there but it was still a great winter trip.

Chuck Church
Indianapolis, Indiana USA

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