wild otter

One of nature’s most social and playful creatures, river otters have big personalities and even bigger appetites. Often seen in groups, they can be observed hunting and frolicking year round at Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri. In winter, you might even catch them sliding across the ice on their bellies. Photo courtesy of Kenny Bahr.

Animal Intelligence

Ever notice how they keep moving the goalposts when it comes to animal intelligence vs. human intelligence?

“Humans are completely unique. No other animal uses tools.”

“Actually, wild sea otters have been observed using rocks to open shellfish.”

“Okay, but that’s not true intelligence. They just pick the rocks up; they don’t alter them in any way.”

“Chimps peel the leaves from sticks to make more effective termite probes.”

“Well, that’s just technology. Only humans have art.”

“What about painting elephants? Art critics often can’t tell the difference between their work and a human’s.”

“Okay fine. But only humans have language. That’s the mark of true intelligence.”

“These African Grey Parrots use hundreds of words correctly and even ask original questions.”

“Oh yeah? Well, does any non-human species demonstrate self-awareness?”

“Dolphins pass the mirror test without training.”

“Pfft. How about problem-solving?”

“I can’t keep squirrels out of my bird feeder no matter what I do.”

“Aha! Bet you can’t think of a species that possesses all these traits! Only humans! We’re No. 1! We’re No. 1!”

“Crows.”

“LALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOOOOUUUUUUUUU…”

This amazing coastline belongs to Big Sur, California (U.S.). A place to get away from turbulent everyday life, go in peace and find inspiration. It`s a `must see` if you go on a California road trip. The rich nature with rocky shores, wild flowers, birds, sea otters and many breathtaking sceneries is what makes Big Sur a great place to visit and admire. Just breathe in the superb Big Sur.

Photo by @gabscanu via Instagram

Since photographing otters with his first camera, Charlie Hamilton James admits, he’s been an “otter nut.” One day during the year he spent in the Yellowstone area, Hamilton James got a call from a friend with a pond on his property: “Get here now. The otters are here.” He grabbed his dry suit, his underwater camera, and the weight belt he’d last used in the ocean.

At the site, “I jumped in the pond and sank straight to the bottom,” says the award-winning wildlife photographer. He had too much weight on the belt—but chances to photograph wild otters underwater are scarce, and he was determined. So he struggled to the surface, gulped air, and then sank again, repeatedly.

“Every time I got to the bottom, the otters swam down to hang out with me,” Hamilton James says. “As an encounter, it’s incredibly rare.” But, he admits, “it was ruined by the fact that I was trying not to drown.”