I had heard through the grapevine that there might be a few river otters in the creeks in the Lab Valley area. River otters are considered "extremely threatened" in our state. At one point, they had vanished from the state but then wildlife officials reintroduced them in 1976. They've gradually increased in numbers since then but still aren't common.
A friend said that she'd seen the tracks of an aquatic mammal on a snow covered creek in the spring months. You can imagine that I was motivated to set up a couple of cams to try to get footage of animals on the creek that goes through Lab Valley.
Believe it or not, I got some footage of an aquatic mammal right away, and some of the footage was in the daytime. One cam captured the animal bounding along on the snow atop the creek. Another cam captured footage of him hunting under our bridge. He swam under the ice, doubtless fishing.
It took me a while to figure out but it turns out that the animal was a mink. The clearest difference is that mink are much smaller than otters. An
otter can be the size of a medium dog or the same length as the coyote
who appears in the video. A mink is about half that size.
I am excited that we have a mink but I am still hoping for river otters. I'll keep you posted! Check out the video.