HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Extreme weather can cause changes in patterns and behavior for wildlife, and that may be part of what happened for a family of otters this week.
A Houstonian out for a run was treated to the rare sight of some curious otters swimming and playing in the elevated waters of Buffalo Bayou in the wake of Hurricane Nicholas.
The owner of Studio A Salon posted the video to Instagram. The charming creatures looked to be just as intrigued by the humans as vice versa.
As much as a decade ago, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department announced otters were making a comeback in numbers around the Lone Star State. Earlier they had been considered a "species of concern" after loss of habitat and trapping reduced their population.
When spotted in the wild, the curious creatures almost always present a playful scene for onlookers. ABC13 reporter Courtney Fisher spotted a family of otters snuggling together on a dock along Lake Conroe early one morning in 2017.
REMEMBER: Check out the time otters nearly upstaged ABC13's live news report
The otters are far from the most unusual mammal to visit Houston's Buffalo Bayou. In 1995, a misguided manatee famously made her way up the Houston Ship Channel where she lingered in the warm water flowing out of a city wastewater treatment plant. Lacking proper vegetation and habitat, wildlife officials fed the sea cow lettuce and vegetables. But after several days, they were left with no choice but to capture her for rehabilitation and ultimately to return her to the wild where she belonged.
Here are a few fun facts about otters, courtesy of the Live Science website:
- There are 13 species of otters
- The largest otters can grow up to almost 6 feet long
- Male sea otters weigh up to 90 pounds
- Otters are found in freshwater rivers, lakes, oceans, coastlines and marshes
- Otters are social animals and love to play
- Otters are carnivores