A photo a day from Oriental, NC, the surrounding Pamlico County area, and nearby rivers, creeks, bays and other waterways of coastal North Carolina.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

12.03- Otter vs. Boxer

A dog faces off with a North American River Otter in a drainage ditch along Kershaw Road

As I was driving along Kershaw Road between Arapahoe and Oriental, I saw two dogs running into the middle of the road ahead... as I slowed down and got closer, I saw a North American River Otter leaping around in the road between the dogs.

The otter ran off the road into the drainage ditch, with the two dogs on its' tail.

As I pulled over, a man came walking across the road from his home (obviously where the dogs and otter had come from) carrying a seven-foot long metal pole.

I got out of the car with my camera and started shooting... by this time the otter was in its' element, while the boxer and another dog were hesitant to step in the water, not knowing where the submerged otter was exactly.

The dogs would run back and forth along the water until the submerged otter lunged up from a hiding place under the water, snapping at the dogs faces... The dogs would jump back, the otter re-submerge, and the whole thing repeated. It kinda reminded me of the Trash Monster in Star Wars. (See posting on my other blog, "The Dinghy Dock" for additional photographs)

At one point, the boxer was scanning the water for the otter, with its front paw in the water... The dog gave a sudden yelp and leaped back, obviously having been bitten on the paw.
The man with the pole came up, and I thought he might use the pole to nudge his dogs away so the otter could escape... It would certainly have been foolish to try to get in between the animals.

Instead of using the pole to break up the dogs, however, the man raised it above his head and brought the pole down full force towards the otter's head! He missed, but I was flabbergasted, and a little fearful for myself and the nearby parked car.

The man tried a second time to hit the otter with the pole, but he slipped and landed rump-first in the mud next to the water... A little divine justice?

At that point the man's wife came walking across the road with a shotgun, saying "what do you want me to do with this? I don't know how to use this, you better come get it."

OK, I thought, time to move the car and get a little removed from the shotgun.

I jumped in the car, drove about 50 feet along the shoulder, then looked back to see the man shooting into the woods. His wife handed him a second shell, he loaded and fired again towards the woods, this time farther away...

(See posting on my other blog, "The Dinghy Dock" for additional photographs)

His wife handed the man a third shell, but he did not shoot again...

The dogs meanwhile were running around the ditch and edge of the woods looking for the otter, apparently with no luck. Hopefully the otter escaped unharmed.

I'm not sure why the man wanted to kill that otter... He had a shotgun and a tracheotomy, though, so I decided against trying to ask him anything about it.

Otters do not seem to be known as farm pests, though they will eat small birds (including, I suppose, small chickens) and their cousins the weasels are widely regarded as farm pests.

Could be he wanted the otter pelt, which might explain why he tried braining the creature before shooting at it.

Maybe it was just afternoon entertainment.

Anyway, I was glad to see that the otter at least made it off into the woods.


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