Whidbey Citizen Scientists Capture Rare Footage

Provided with permission: Jill Lipoti, April 15, 10:30 am

Mating Season on Whidbey is typically in April and May (give or take a month). These two amorous otters were observed by Jill Lipoti off Scatchet Head beach on the southernmost tip of Whidbey Island.  

Provided with permission: Jill Lipoti, Scatchet Head Beach, April 15, 2020

One of my trophy cameras situated near a den site on Lake Pondilla, Fort Ebey State Park also captured mating otters this May, though the footage is not nearly as good as Jill’s.

Though river otters typically mate in the water, courtship occurs throughout the day for several days. “Dinner and a movie,” may occur under residential decks. Be mindful, as limerence can sound more like fighting raccoons, with hissing, snarling and growling. Rest assured, this is part of the courtship process and if they found a love nest in your yard, they do not typically stay there for more than a day or two.

Provided with permission: Kevin Shambaugh, Kennedy Lagoon, Coupeville, May 6, 2020

This exciting video of two coyotes (one on either side of the shrubbery) and a lone otter was captured by Kevin Shambaugh along Kennedy Lagoon in Coupeville. It is hard to know from such a brief video what is going on, it could be play, or what I think is perhaps more probable is den site guarding. Although the coyotes’ posture does not necessarily appear aggressive, coyotes mate in February to April with a gestation of approximately 60 days. Litters typically consist of 4 to 5 pups. Conversely, the otter may be a female trying to gain access to her own den site. It is difficult to know for certain; though the footage is wonderful. Thank you Kevin Shambaugh and Sue Sell for sharing!

If you have footage you would like to share of local wildlife, please email me with permissions to share your wonderful nature experiences, island@pacificu.edu