Never Too Many Otters
Moss Landing, CA
April 2014

I can give credit to Monterey Bay for jumpstarting my nature photography obsession. The shoreline and estuaries (called a “slough” here, rhymes with “shoe”) are home to countless creatures: birds, marine mammals, whales, octopus, crustaceans and more.

Outside of Alaska, Monterey Bay has one of the largest populations of sea otters. Over the years, I have identified many spots where I can reliably find an otter or even a whole raft (resting group) anytime. Moss Landing is one of those places. Otters give birth all year long so it is also common to come across a mom and pup together. I can recognize the cute squeaky voice of an otter pup anxiously calling its mother even before I see it.

Sea otters have a universal appeal that only a few other animals can rival. Who else? Sloths? Llamas? Koalas? Pandas? With their charming appearance, entertaining behavior and the fact they are easily seen along the shoreline, even the most clueless tourist can find an otter to photograph for Instagram. They are no doubt cute, but people need to be regularly reminded they are actually a large member of the weasel family, they are active carnivores and they can bite!

I feel so fortunate to have had many encounters with sea otters over the 20+ years I have lived here. As the sea temperatures rise and the climate becomes unstable, I worry about their survivability. (Along with everything else.) But for now the otters are here living freely in the beautiful waters of Monterey Bay. You can never have too many otters.

Below are a few photos of sea otters recently seen. There was one mom and pup I saw regularly.

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