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Rare Sighting Of Otters On Scarborough Beach, Cape Town

Rare sighting of otters on Scarborough beach, Cape Town

Scarborough Beach is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, who enjoy its scenic views, sandy shores, and surfing waves. But recently, some lucky visitors got to witness a rare and delightful sight: a group of otters playing on the beach.

Otters are elusive and shy animals that are not often seen by humans. They are usually active at dawn and dusk, and prefer to stay near water sources where they can hunt for fish, crabs, and other prey. They are also very social and live in family groups called holts.


The otters that were seen on Scarborough Beach belong to the Cape clawless otter species, which is endemic to sub-Saharan Africa. They are the second-largest freshwater otter species in the world, after the giant otter of South America. They have thick fur that protects them from the cold water, and webbed feet that help them swim. They also have no claws on their front feet, hence their name.

The Cape clawless otter is considered near threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), due to habitat loss, pollution, and human-wildlife conflict. They face threats from poaching, fishing nets, traps, and dogs. They also suffer from the declining quality and quantity of freshwater ecosystems in Africa. Therefore, seeing these otters on Scarborough Beach was a rare and special occasion, that shows that there is still hope for their conservation.

According to some witnesses, the otters seemed fearless and curious, and even approached some people on the beach. They also seemed to enjoy playing in the sand and water, and chasing each other around. One of the witnesses was Matthew Swart, who captured some photos and videos of the otters on his phone. He said that he had lived in the area for 15 years, but had only seen single otters twice before. He described the encounter as a "beautiful experience" that he would never forget.

Why Otters are Amazing Animals

Otters are amazing animals that have many adaptations and behaviors that make them unique and fascinating. Here are some of the reasons why otters are so awesome:

  • Otters have thick fur that keeps them warm and dry in cold water. Their fur consists of two layers: an outer layer of guard hairs that repel water, and an inner layer of underfur that traps air and insulates them. They also have a layer of fat under their skin that provides extra warmth and buoyancy.

  • Otters have excellent senses of smell, hearing, and touch. They use their whiskers to detect vibrations and movements in the water, and their noses to locate prey and mates.

  • Otters are very agile and flexible. They can twist their bodies in any direction, and use their long tails as rudders to steer themselves in the water. They can also run fast on land, climb trees, and slide down slopes.

  • Otters are very intelligent and playful. They can use tools to crack open shells, play games with each other or with objects, and communicate with vocalizations and body language. They also have a sense of humor and can be mischievous.

  • Otters are very loyal and affectionate. They form strong bonds with their mates and offspring, and groom each other regularly. They also cuddle together to keep warm and show love.

How You Can Help Otters

If you love otters as much as we do, you might be wondering how you can help them survive and thrive in their natural habitats. Here are some ways you can make a difference:

  • Support conservation organizations that work to protect otters and their habitats. You can donate money or time, or adopt an otter through a sponsorship program.

  • Reduce your water consumption and pollution. Otters need clean water to live healthy lives. You can help by using less water at home, avoiding chemical products that can contaminate water sources, and disposing of waste properly.

  • Respect otters in the wild. If you encounter an otter in its natural environment, keep your distance and do not disturb it. Do not feed or touch it, or try to take a selfie with it. Observe it quietly and enjoy its beauty.

  • Educate yourself and others about otters. Learn more about otter species, their behaviors, and their threats. Share your knowledge and passion with your friends, family, and community. Spread the word about why otters are amazing and why they need our help.


Otters are wonderful creatures that deserve our admiration and protection. They are not only cute and cuddly, but also smart and skillful. They enrich our world with their presence and personality. Seeing them on Scarborough Beach was a rare sighting of otters on Cape Town that reminded us of their beauty and vulnerability. We hope that this article inspired you to learn more about otters and to take action to help them.


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