Thursday, July 13, 2006

I Otter Knowed Something Like This Might Happen...


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(photo: Guana Lake near St. Augustine...not my pond)

If you've been paying attention, you know the following:

After the hurricanes of 2004, my small pond was resplendent and relatively vast.

In October of that year, I stocked 100 baby catfish into my way bigger than normal pond. Upon release from the plastic hatchery bag, they swam off, seemingly into oblivion.

Always (mostly) the optimist, I caught wild warmouth and bluegills in local creeks and added them to the pond throughout the following spring and summer.

The pond slowly shrank back to within it's normal banks, but that was okay.

Early in 2006, the mysteriously absent catfish reappeared. Apparently the wormhole closed quickly, as only 8 were ever seen, but these 8 grew fat and sleek. Walking onto the dock would bring them finning in anticipation of feed pellets tossed upon the waters which they happily hoovered.

The pond shrinking accelerated as the spring drought intensified into a summer drought.

I began planning a rescue catch of my remaining catfish as I have a large aquaculture tank set up near my little barn. Perhaps I could "Ark" them until the rains came again.

That much has been said in various fishy posts here at Pure Florida.

Recently, I have not been able to spot my big cats, even when food was offered. I told myself they might be estivating somewhere 'neath the weeds due to low oxygen in the now very shallow, warm water.

Last evening, near dusk, I walked down to optimistically toss a few fish food pellets from the dock.

I was not alone.

An otter was staring at me from a few yards away.

I don't think I'll be needing those "fish rescue" plans after all. Posted by Picasa

19 comments:

wayne said...

Oh man. Utterly cool. I'm sorry about your catfish but there's something about an otter that just grabs me (and surely there's cat babies there ready to become otter food and keep that critter around?)

Rurality said...

Ooooh no. I am intimately familiar with that problem. My condolences.

Deb said...

So did you ever see any sign of the warmouth and bluegills?

Hick said...

That photo deserves a double "Wowsers!"

I guess one man's otter is another's deer...but otter are cuter.

roger said...

raccoons and herons keep our pond free of large fish.

maybe a gator would chase away the otter. but then you're on that ride of what next to chase away the gator. you may know of a song about an old lady who swallowed a fly...i don't know why she swallowed that fly, perhaps she'll die.

robin andrea said...

Wow! An otter right there in your yard, feeding from your pond. It is a shame about those catfish, but an otter! Wow! I wonder how he found your yard? Any other larger bodies of water around? I suppose when he's finished eating all there is to be had there, he'll mosey along.

Hurricane Teen said...

It's a shame that you lost your catfish, but, heck, an otter? In your private pond?! Sounds like you've got another little mammal to deal with :-D They're funny little guys to watch, though.

pablo said...

What are otter pelts fetching these days?

Thunder Dave said...

I finally had a couple of minutes and tried to get caught back up:

Those things did look like bees!

Good job protecting us from those dangerous umbrella carriers!

Great explaination and pics of the clam farming!

Franco is still dead?! (SNL, although funny, will never be the same!)

Sounds like Hooter has a Napolean complex!

Eventhough they're cute, I'm gonna have to go with Pablo!

Hal at Ranch Ramblins said...

Estivate - my newly learned word for the day - thanks.

The otter - 6 catfish (at $20/hundred) sounds like a fair trade for the novelty of an otter in YOUR pond (not mine, of course).

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Besides eating all your fish, don't otters make holes in the dam and cause a pond to leak ? I heard this somewhere from someone.

You know you are getting old when you start doing these 3 things:
1. You start forgetting things.
2. (I can't remember the other 2 things)

Mrs. S said...

Look at the bright side - you'll have tons of otter photo ops!!! Right?

We have sea otters here, they are adorable... they love to flirt with the tourists, but are careful to stay well out of reach and seem very disinterested in people food for the most part.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

"100 catfish sat on a wall, 100 catfish on a wall. If one of those catfish got eat by an otter, the rest are soon to go."

Old central Oregon song I just made up.

Floridacracker said...

Wayne,
I know...it's a quandry. Hard to not be excited about otters.

Rurality,
I know. You were the first thing that popped into my head after the otter popped his head out of the water. Shared adversity...

Deb,
Yes, they bred like crazy and the pond has a good supply of babie bream.

Hick,
Thanks, it's an old K64 slide of mine. Otter...just like deer only wetter.

roger,
i have enough trouble without importing any ...

Robin,
I know, it is pretty neat. The surrounding area is mostly timber with small swampy ponds and creeks. Alot of those are dry now with our drought, so I think otter just smelled water and came to check it out. It happened once about 10 years ago too.

Hurricane Teen,
It is cool, maybe I can get a shot of this current otter.

Pablo,
Rurality might be able to answer that question.

Thunder,
Good job of catch up commenting!

Hal,
AND I didn't make estivate up...it's real. Personally, I like new words :)

Abandoned,
My pond has no dam. Here, we just dig a hole and it fills up...mostly. Pablo's the dam guy ;)

Mrs. S,
Hoping for otter ops...you'll know if I do!

Hoss,
Humor and musical ability? Truly, thou art a multitasker.

threecollie said...

Ah, what a shame about the fish....I have that farming gene and even critters that grow in the pond seem like things that need to be nurtured and tended. Hate to see them become lunch. We just mourned our big old blind goldfish when the cats hooked him out. Sorry about yours.

Nunzia said...

a passerby who wanted to say that the images on this site are STUNNING

Floridacracker said...

ThreeCollie,
I know...it's quite the quandry. I love raising fish, but heck, I love otters too. Arrrrgh!

Nunzia,
First, let me say welcome to Pure Florida and thank you for the kind comment. Pass by and visit any time.

Betsy said...

Instead of a deer, an otter oughta be a wetter squatter. Also cuter, maybe neater. Naughty otters! And their daughters.

Floridacracker said...

Betsy,
Bravo!!