Cape Clawless Otter in Betty’s Bay

Not exactly a passerine, but I’m always thrilled when I bump into Cape Clawless Otter. My latest otter experience was in Betty’s Bay at “Big” or “Main” beach, one of the busier beaches in the area. It wasn’t picking it’s way between beach towels, but it was about 500m from the busy swim area.

Cape Clawless Otter

We first spotted it swimming about 20m offshore, pretty close to a fisherman, before it slowly made its way onto the beach.

Cape Clawless Otter1

What surprised me was how slowly it moved up the beach. I would have expected it to make a dash for cover, but it took about 4 minutes for it leave the water and finally disappear over the dune.

Cape Clawless Otter2

What was most striking was its rather rotund belly! We suspected it may be a pregnant female; I remember otter being a lot slimmer and streamlined than this portly individual. Any otter experts have an opinion on this?

Cape Clawless Otter spoor

The tail and “clawless” paw prints make for a distinctive spoor.

Cape Clawless Otter spoor1

Chatting to a Betty’s Bay resident, Cape Clawless Otter is a regularly seen along this stretch of beach, but usually at an earlier hour in the morning.

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