West Seattle wildlife: Lunch break for road-crossing otter

July 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm | In West Seattle beaches, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 18 Comments

We’ve shared photos taken by others, but never before have we had the chance to personally photograph one of Alki’s famous road-crossing river otters. S/he just turned up while we were standing on the Duwamish Head seawall to get a photo of this great blue heron …

Then a gentleman unloading a Wiseman’s Appliance truck shouted something like “THERE’s your photo op!” – we turned, and the otter was suddenly on the sidewalk, galumphing over to slide down the seawall:

… and onto the beach. It was just about noon, so, we assume, lunch break time. PLEASE be careful when you drive Alki Avenue … the otters seem to be frequent commuters.

18 Comments

  1. Love the pics! Thank you for sharing!

    Comment by April — 3:03 pm July 17, 2012 #

  2. Any word on when the city will start installing ”otter only” lanes next to the bike lanes down there? Seriously though, hope none of these otters get hit. Really nice to live in a major city with such a variety of wildlife.

    Comment by a — 3:21 pm July 17, 2012 #

  3. I was thinking of “otter crossing” signs myself :)

    Comment by biankat — 3:24 pm July 17, 2012 #

  4. We’ve had that suggestion via Facebook too. Same thing I said there: Contact SDOT and/or CM Tom Rasmussen, who heads the Transportation Committee. It’s happened in other cities, I’m sure it could happen here! – TR

    Comment by WSB — 3:25 pm July 17, 2012 #

  5. We need “Otter Crossing” signs!

    Comment by Nick — 4:37 pm July 17, 2012 #

  6. Like the otter is going to read where to cross the road. Last week he was up near the Endoline Joe’s intersection crossing busy 45th street!

    Comment by Woodsman — 6:40 pm July 17, 2012 #

  7. Nice timing with camera in hand!

    I wonder if there is still an active Alki Backyard habitat FB group? I remember talking to them a couple of years ago about an organized pursuit of otter crossing signs at one of the beach festivals. But I was told there weren’t enough volunteers to get it started.

    I don’t know – maybe their community council could partner with other similar groups to explore it. Just need peeps with time and willing to patiently persevere and follow through. There are turtle-crossing signs on highways down south, so as I’ve said before, it bet it could be done here for these critters.

    Comment by westseattledood — 6:45 pm July 17, 2012 #

  8. Otter be more careful….

    Comment by Beachcat007 — 7:58 pm July 17, 2012 #

  9. “Galumphing!” perfect!

    Comment by 35this35mph — 9:32 pm July 17, 2012 #

  10. I definitely agree, quite seriously, that we need some “wildlife crossing” signs. That road is frequented by tourists trying to show off by speeding in expensive cars and people so busy looking for parking that they aren’t looking where they’re going. It’s only a matter of time before someone hits an otter.

    I was really surprised to see an otter over the weekend on a busy stretch of beach, near Anchor Park. It was not at all afraid of the people watching and photographing it, which makes me a little concerned it might saunter across the road without much fear.

    Comment by Rebecca — 10:25 pm July 17, 2012 #

  11. It’s happened before – we had this report four years ago:
    .
    http://westseattleblog.com/2008/06/and-another-reader-report-otter-killed-by-car-at-duwamish-head

    Comment by WSB — 10:28 pm July 17, 2012 #

  12. By the way, if anyone does know who we should contact, I’d happily volunteer to place signs, talk to whoever can okay them, etc.

    Comment by Rebecca — 10:28 pm July 17, 2012 #

  13. There otter be a law…

    Comment by Pibal — 10:59 pm July 17, 2012 #

  14. Totally gotta protect the rights of the otter-saurus to cross the road! (my dive buddies think it looks like a baby stegosaurus that hasn’t grown its plates yet)

    I feel like the otter should be our west seattle mascot, and we can have a game of sorts that is “where in west seattle… is the otter(saurus)” kind of like where’s waldo or carmen san diego.

    Comment by DiverLaura — 12:40 am July 18, 2012 #

  15. We saw one late Sunday on Alki. My mom didn’t know what it was and thought we scared it into the water. I had to convince her it was ok. They’re cute!

    Comment by LyndaB — 1:08 am July 18, 2012 #

  16. They are so otterly cute!

    Comment by juniperberry — 11:10 am July 18, 2012 #

  17. Great picture!!

    Comment by Guy — 5:31 pm July 18, 2012 #

  18. Wonderful picture! A few years ago my husband and I were heading to Southcenter via 509 and 518 and as we were going down 2nd towards the 509 entrance, we spotted an otter “galumphing” across the road. It was a rather startling but wonderful sight!

    Comment by Amy B — 7:30 am July 20, 2012 #

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