Kayaking with a Friend

Last week while kayaking, I had one of my favorite friends join me … a Northern River Otter (Lutra canadensis). When I first noticed him, I had the kayak facing away from him while I photographed beavers around their lodge. While swimming past me, he made quite a splashing noise as he swam via a loping motion. When I heard this, I turned around and saw him quickly swimming past me:

River Otter swimming in a Missouri waterway


Up until this time, he hadn’t noticed me. But the process of turning the kayak around made enough noise that he abruptly stopped and looked my direction:

River Otter sees me in my kayak


Otters are so curious that they always like to check out anything unusual. In this case, he kept his distance from me but stopped long enough to see who I was and what I was doing. Since he was on the far side of the water from me, I decided to paddle and try to get in front of him for a “head-on” shot. I quickly paddled and managed to get ahead of him. At that point, I just turned the kayak around and waited for him to swim to me. As he surfaced from the water, he noticed me and abruptly stopped and raised his head out of the water for a good look at me:

A curious River Otter


If you read my blog often, you know that I love being around and photographing the river otters. They are one of my favorite subjects to find when I kayak! And you might remember my awesome experience with an otter about 3-4 years ago (“An Otterly Fabulous Outing”).



Posted in Mammals, Nature Photography, Photography from a kayak
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