A boat owner on the coastal town of St Francis Bay in South Africa recently had a number of adorable stowaways on board their unattended vessel. A romp of Cape clawless otters were filmed by local resident, Linda Lombard, as they playfully explored the deck of a docked boat.

Video © Linda Lombard

The video shows at least six large otters scampering about, rolling on the floor, and peeking over the edge of the boat on their hind legs. After taking full advantage of their floating playground, they all plunge into the cool Indian ocean for a swim.

The name of this otter species is conspicuously derived from the fact that their partially webbed feet are, you guessed it, clawless. The Cape clawless otter is a member of the weasel family and is the second largest predominantly freshwater otter species. Although they are common residents in the St Francis Bay area, they tend to remain elusive to eager tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of these water weasels. Otters are also known to be solitary and territorial animals and are seldom seen frolicking in larger groups, which makes this sighting extra special.

The Cape clawless otter’s diet consists of an array of aquatic snacks such as crabs and fish, as well as land snacks like rodents and small birds. Their unusually long whiskers are used to detect nearby prey in murky waters. Once they have grabbed onto their prey, they’ll take it up to the surface and eat it on land.

As Linda’s video proves, these cute critters are a delight to watch. Whether together or swimming solo, otters are known to be energetic and playful creatures who seem to always live life to the fullest. 


Header image: Frans Vandewalle