Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tracks in the Snow

This photo was taken last month along Pinto Creek north of Hinton. Although it had snowed since the critter that made the tracks passed by the story was still pretty clear. The tracks were made by a river otter. Two clues are distinctive. First, the track clearly shows a pattern of a few jumps followed by a long groove. This is typical otter behaviour. Otters never run if they can slide! The otter took a few strides then slid on its belly. Second, the track leads directly to a hole in the ice, which the otter used to access the underwater world that holds the fish it depends on for food on a year-around basis.

River otters regularly visit the Beaver Boardwalk. Unfortunately they always seem to time their visits to when I'm not there. I get about 2 reports a year from Boardwalk users saying they saw an otter. Lucky them! Otters are uncommon in the Foothills area and not many people are fortunate enough to spot one.

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