A romp of otters - that's how one refers to a group of these smart, playful, fun-loving and energetic aquatic mammals. Related to weasels, stoats, minks and wolverines, they can be found on all continents, with the exception of Australia and Antarctica. Helpful and happy to share with members of its romp, the otter stands as a shining example of a species that's faithful to its kind.
Ojibwa legend tells how the otter played a practical joke on the bear, who asked how to catch fish. "Stick your tail (bears had tails in ancient times) in the hole in the ice," advised the otter, "and the fish will come." After an all-day vigil waiting for a bite, the bear's tail had become frozen solid, and it dawned on him that he'd been the butt of a joke. The moral of the otter story -- Don't believe everything people tell you!
For the Haida, legend tells that, in early times, when the great Transformer was traveling the land, he came across a man sharpening a spear with which to kill him. He turned the man into an otter and the spear became its tail. The otter is often featured in Haida art works.
In the Amazon, giant otters can grow to over six feet in length and weigh up to seventy-five pounds. They live and hunt in packs of up to eight members, just like wolves. Fish stand little chance against these determined and cunning hunters.
See also: Animal Tattoo Index.