Enjoying Lutra!

Author: Jan Piet Bekker

Over the past four years I have had the great fortune to spend the late spring, until early autumn, in Norway in a house on the island of Sula, along the Hagenfjord, close to the mouth of the Sognefjord. In this time I have had around forty casual encounters with otters (Lutra lutra). All these encounters were special for me, even if most of the observations confirmed typical otter behaviour: a trail of air bubbles, clearly visible especially during calm weather, betraying the course the animal followed before surfacing again. Or, an otter dashing over and between the rockweed (Fucus vesiculosus) during low tide, sometimes playfully but now and then stopping to consume a small crab or fish racing for deeper water. Once I saw a couple of otters in the fjord, right in front of the house, diving and surfacing with small fish, making several wild bites, swallowing and diving again. When one caught a bigger fish, it was taken and devoured ashore. Afterwards I saw the same individual galloping inside a large concrete tube, obviously sprainting, before dashing out again and returning to the water. The other otter caught a fish in a water pool, killed it with a quick bite, swallowed the fish and returned into the water again. After watching them for more than an hour the two animals disappeared.

On two occasions I saw new (to me) patterns of otter behaviour. The first was.....