Archive for March 14th, 2012

Wildlife: Is That an Otter in the Water?

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

This is Passport to Texas

Every day Texas Parks and Wildlife Biologist Gary Calkins fields calls and emails about otter sightings because—he’s the otter guy.

08—Because of doing otter surveys out here, and then some other research that I was involved in I ended up with that title.

He charts the sightings on a map of the state only after he’s confident that what spotters saw really was an otter, because…

04—Otters, beavers and nutria in the water can all look somewhat similar.

Despite the reports streaming into Calkins’ office, seeing an otter remains a rare occurrence as they’re usually most active when we aren’t. Before calling in with a sighting, take extra time to verify it is an otter.

27—Otters are going to swim with most of their head up out of the water. They’re going to be more inquisitive and a little more likely to come to you; whereas beavers and nutria are going to swim away. Otter will dive, but then they’ll usually dive, but then they’ll usually immediately resurface and turn around and look at you. They also have a tendency to whistle or chirp at you as a vocalization to more or less let you know that you’re in their world. And so, the swimming behavior, whether it’s to you or away from you, and then the vocalizations are really good keys.

Post your otter sighting to, and we’ll pass it along to Gary Calkins.

We receive support from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program…funded by your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment an motorboat fuel.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.