These guys really are really cute. As the name suggests, you find them entirely in North America. This includes Canada and the American state of Alaska. In the U.S., they are located closer to the east and west coasts. The middle is almost entire left out; however, a lot of American soil is still covered. We have enough of these guys to make us smile anyways. Canada really does win the award though. Up there, these cuties are everywhere sliding across ice like it's the best thing in the world!
The North American river otter--like most otters--love seafood. They hunt by sneaking and ambush tactics--much like felines. If the ambush fails, they are perfectly capable of giving chase. With as much energy as they have, often the prey will run out of breath and get caught. Sometimes several others will get in on the chase as well, and then it becomes a matter of sport. These otters are carnivores, and beyond seafood, they also eat any small animals they can catch and kill. They are also known to eat some species of birds, and they don't mind this even one bit.
Most musties are not known for good social interactions. The European otter was a good example of how we usually find these guys behaving. With the North American river otter, we find something that is "otterly" different! These musties tend to love each other's company and often with no exception. Even when it's mating season, it does not mean two males cannot enjoy each other's company. Perhaps, a contest of some sort would be in order. I wouldn't throw such a sport past them since they always seem to be playing at some game or another. The spirit of family and good will seems to always be present with these guys, and it is marvelously fun to watch them in action.
On the latter information, you must understand how positively rare it is for males to enjoy each other's company when it comes to female competition. The most common trend is for things to get violent. It feels like to me that these particular otters just like to have fun, play, and live a relaxing and lazy lifestyle. In a way, that is still very animalistic. I have a cat who spends her entire day eating and sleeping, and that is perfectly fine for her. The difference here is that otters enjoy a good play, and between the two, I would rather watch the otters. Few other things bring me such joy as seeing these little hams put on a performance for my viewing pleasure.
So, I think you get what I mean. These guys are a free spirit that cannot be suppressed in any way. They are the hippy, surfer dudes of the animal kingdom. In fiction, I see them in a similar light. The fact that they are river-bound, makes me think of a more tribal setup. I see them walking about their little village wearing trinkets around their necks and leafy loincloths between their legs. Everyone knows and likes everyone, and they spend their days playing in a river paradise.
I wrote an unpublished story called "Fairyland Detectives" with something similar. There was a little otter village called Conceitia where otters all played and would try to get visitors to watch them. They were very vain, and did not really care for visitors but for how much they could show off for them. I think that these otters very likely were of the North American variety--not the "otter" kinds.
What is not to love about this wonderful musty. They produce almost an escapist ideal. I have many times wished I could just join in on the fun and swim about in an otter paradise. That's why I love fiction. In a way, it allows me to do just that. Stay tuned for more otters in next week's blog, or else I'll be "otterly" devastated!
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