March 11, 2010
CMA’s stranding team recently rescued a second otter pup in Largo. She was named “Annie,” after the person who found her and the character Orphan Annie, from the musical and movie. The pup weighs only two pounds and is still feeding from a bottle.
This is the time of year abandoned otter pups are spotted trying to make it on their own. This is our second otter pup in two weeks. If you see an otter, do not approach it and please immediately call our stranding line at 727-441-1790 ext. 234. Some people describe them as looking like brown ferrets from a distance. As part of its free speaker series, CMA will host a presentation on April 15 at 6 p.m. on “All About Otters.”
Adult female otters have litters of anywhere between one and six. In nature, not all can keep up and some can get left behind or encounter obstacles. Otter moms nurse and assist in the development of vital life skills in their first year of life. Mom will often catch and release prey for the pups to practice their skills. Without mom to protect them, pups are vulnerable to predation and lack life skills related to finding food.
North American river otters are fresh water animals and can be found throughout North America in rivers, streams, lakes and ponds. They are in the Mustilidae family, which also includes ferrets, skunks, weasels and sea otters. North American river otters are not endangered and due to decreased habitats, are often found in residential neighborhoods or other populated areas.