Rare encounter with wild sea otter goes viral. Beach goers have fun, but expert issues warning

After footage of a very friendly sea otter approaching a man on a beach in Canada went viral, an expert warned that one should stay away from them due to the danger for both humans and the mammals.

In August 2014, a video of a wild sea otter making a beeline for a man standing in knee-deep water in Cadboro Bay Beach in Victoria, British Columbia, was uploaded to YouTube by Allison Moore. In the three-and-a-half-minute-long clip, the sociable otter is seen playfully swimming around the man’s legs.

©YouTube Screenshot | allisonmoo

Not only that, but the curious critter was rubbing against the unidentified man, almost like how a cat would.

At one point, a beach-goer is heard asking if he’s biting. The guy says “No…,” then almost immediately, he lets out an “OUCH!” But, he seemed to be fine.

©YouTube Screenshot | allisonmoo

The close encounter was rare, according to locals.

“I’ve been a fisherman and a diver on southern Vancouver Island for 35 years, and I’ve never seen one here,” Allan Crow told Times Colonist. “I had a hard time accepting what I was seeing, but that’s a sea otter. The currents are quick there, so it must have been separated from others.”

©YouTube Screenshot | allisonmoo

Tessa Danelesko, coordinator of the B.C. cetacean sightings network at the Vancouver Aquarium, said that humans should actually stay away from them.

“It is very important that people maintain a distance from marine mammals and back away if they approach you. This will encourage the sea otter to continue its natural activities,” she said. “It’s a concern to see a sea otter get so close. They are typically very shy with boaters and people because of harvesting dangers.”

Illustration – Getty Images | Raffi Maghdessian

She added that according to the marine mammals’ guidelines, one should keep a distance of 100 meters.

“It’s dangerous for people and for the otters. If it becomes a nuisance, fisheries could be forced to relocate it or kill it,” she said.

©YouTube Screenshot | allisonmoo

Danelesko also told Metro News that one would not want to be bitten by any animal, especially a sea otter.

“They naturally eat foods that are very hard and crunchy, like shellfish or urchins, so they particularly have very impressive teeth that I wouldn’t want to get anywhere near,” she explained.

Nevertheless, this guy seems to be okay with the unusual encounter, and with over 3 million views, many netizens seem to have enjoyed his experience too.

One YouTube user wrote, “Otters are curious creatures, but this one takes the prize for bravest and friendliest!”

Illustration – Getty Images | Chase Dekker Wild-Life Images

But yes, best to listen to the experts and stay clear of otters if they approach—no matter how cute!

Watch the rare encounter below:

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