River otters. Photo credit: Kelly Brenner
Mother river otters raise their families alone, tending one or two blind and tiny pups for a month and a half in the den. The family then emerges into the wider world where the mom teaches the pups to swim by tempting them into the water with food. She may even drag the more reluctant offspring in the water. Her pups will stay with her for a year while she teaches them to fish and survive on their own.
What Northwest human moms can learn: Sometimes a good push is necessary.
Where to see them: Visiting parks along the water is your best chance at finding an otter. They can be seen anywhere in Lake Washington, along the Ship Canal and even in Puget Sound along our beaches. For an up-close experience, visit the river otters at Woodland Park Zoo. And if you do find otters in the wild, report your sighting to the Otter Spotter Community Science Initiative.
Watch: A mom feeds an otter pup in this cool video.