Saturday, September 8, 2012
I love watching otter! They do everything together. For awhile the cattails will weave and sway. It sounds as though a family of bears is thrashing about. More often they feed out in the open. This little pond is full of newts and salamanders. There are plenty of fish in the pond but, so far, we only see them come up with a newt or salamander.
We were very surprised to see the otter feeding on rough-skinned newts. The books all say only one animal can eat one and survive, a variety of garter snake that has evolved to cope with the toxins. We sent our photos to some researchers who came and sampled the newt populations. They are finding the toxins are far lower at higher elevations than down in the valley -- I believe it was 10x more toxic at about 600 feet versus here at 2500 feet. We even got credited in their scientific paper.
After chomping down a belly full of newts and salamanders, the other haul out on one of the partially submerged logs to rough house and groom. Then then disappear for an hour or two. I wait, hoping to see the cattails start swaying again.