Archive for March 15th, 2012

Wildlife: Wandering Otters

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

This is Passport to Texas

When you find a plentiful supply of…

04—Crawfish, freshwater mussels, fish, frogs…

…in rivers and streams, you may also find otters, because that’s their preferred habitat and diet.

Texas parks and Wildlife Biologist, Gary Calkins studies otters and says the drought this past year dried up streams and stretches of river forcing the animals to venture far and wide in search of suitable habitat.

40—If we go back to normal rainfall patterns they will go back to their normal habitats, but right now they are popping up in any source of permanent water that they can find that has food in it. And so, folks that have spring fed ponds that may have never seen otters in 20 or 25 years are all of a sudden seeing them. How are they getting to these water bodies? Otters will cross land for miles to get from one spot to another, and so if they end up with no food, or no water or too much competition, they’ll just kind of pack up and go cross country and look for a new home. Somebody might actually see an otter crossing the street. A lot of the reports have been of otters crossing roads or pastures in kind of odd places.

Have you spotted an otter? Go to and tell us about it in the comments, and we’ll make sure it reaches Gary Calkins.

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

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