Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Not That One, the Otter One

In addition to the zoo’s small-clawed otters, there are also (just as of a few weeks ago) a couple of river otters in a little enclosure behind the Small Mammal House, in the cage where the king vulture used to be (it’s been moved to the next cage over). It’s difficult to get pictures of these guys, what with the fencing around their enclosure, and I’m glad the exhibit space is only temporary, since 1. It seems a little small for the otters and 2. In that confined space, so close to visitors, the smell of their food (or them) is quite strong…it’s sort of an oily fish-going-bad smell, and it kind of offsets the animals’ charm.

It’s a different sort of charm than that of the small-clawed otters in any case; these guys are bigger, with deep-set eyes that give them, to my mind, a somewhat cynical expression. Also, they tend to make explosive “pufffffsssshhh” noises as they snort out air—entertaining but also suggestive of disapproval. I’d say they seem like the darkly skeptical older cousins of the sunny, easily distracted small-clawed otters.

Although I know that the small-clawed otters hail from Asia and the river otters are North American, the latter project a pleasant but slightly glowering Tartar-ish sensibility. To me, that is. I wouldn’t be surprised to stop by one day and find them reading some Dostoyevsky or a biography of Attila the Hun.

[Does this otter secretly think
of me as Prince Myshkin?]


Anca said...

Actually, the otter made the mistake of looking at Fox News. Now, like many others who've made the same mistake, he's hiding his head in dismay.

Unknown said...

I like cynical-looking otters. And I agree with Anca. They are probably responding to Glenn Beck saying that Obama deeply despises white people. Ah, "journalism"... (as I bury my head, otterly dismayed as well)

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