Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sea Otters Sighted In Sea Isle City New Jersey?

On March 17, 2012 Sea Isle City hosted its annual St Patrick’s day parade and celebration. The weather was unseasonably warm (mid sixties). While the St. Pat revelry was going on in downtown Sea Isle, I was getting reports of sea otters swimming in the bay (Intercoastal Waterway) in the vicninity of 44th street just across from Larson’s boat rentals.

I was about 10 blocks away on foot so by the time I got over there the sea otters were gone. I’m not sure if anyone reading this has ever seen a sea otter in sea isle? I am not an oceanographer but I wonder if they could have been possibly river otters as my rudimentary research seems to indicate these otters are common to New Jersey?

I wish I saw it. I have heard rare reports of seals sunning themselves on people’s docks along the bay but maybe these claims are incorrect? Maybe they were otters (sea or river) instead?

Sea Isle certainly supports prey that otters enjoy such as clams, crabs, and mussels. Another prey they enjoy very much are sea urchins. I did notice in the area of the otter sighting that there were plenty of purple sea urchins hanging on the bulkheads. Perhaps this abundance of prey enticed the otters?

I wish someone was able to snap a picture. Maybe this is just another bigfoot sighting just on a smaller scale


  1. Tonight around 9:45 I went out on to the back porch to get my beach bag, can you believe that I was on the beach today? WHat amazing weather it has been. Anyway I glanced about 20 feet away onto our floating dock and saw a large animal smashing a rock onto some sort of sea creature. At first I thought it was a stray cat, NO WAY it was an otter. I stayed and ket watching, right away he knew I was there. He began to hiss or more like a "Shhaa" sound. I then heard the same sound and realized there was another otter swimming under the dock. The one otter stayed on the floating dock until he finshed his meal, while the other waited for him. We live on the 24th street in Avalon on the bay. We keep a light on the bay at night to attract bait fish which then attracts stripe bass and weak fish in the late summer. So, the otters were swimming in a the lighted water. They would swim under for a minute then come up, everytime they would come up they were looking right at me.
    A year before our neighbors had been complaining about the otters and I thought they were crazy. The Hodge Podge Bait Shop in Avalon keeps their minnows in the wood boxes that are locked closed with a small hook across the bay from our house, they said the otters were so smart that they would use their paws and open the minnow boxes and one by one eat every minnow. Feasting on them every night. It became a real bother.
    I imagine these are the same otters that were on the dock tonight.
    I still can't believe I saw them

  2. Wow! Great, great information. Thanks so much for the thorough comment. Always great to hear from a shore person :-) Thanks again

    1. Yes there are otters al over the NJ coast. Google it. I have seen them in ea Isle city byt he yacht club and at the end of 44th street and at 86th street pier. I have seen them in LBI too. I couldn't stand people that kept asuming they couldn't be ottersand offered all kinds of theories: that they were rats, Ferrets that were let go by their owners (as if they would last a minute in our salt marshes), weasels, etc, etc.

  3. Thank you for the information. It would be great to see one up by the Sea Ilse City Yacht club. I'm not too far from there. Thanks again

  4. The siting was probably river otters if they were otters at all. Otters are not uncommon in NJ. I just saw a small romp of river otters in Greenwood Lake NJ. Another possibility for the Sea Isle siting was Harbor Seals which are much larger than River otters. Sea Otters are marine mammals that are much larger than their cousins the river otters but sea otters are indigenous to the Pacific Northwest to the middle of California, I.e. As far south as Big Sur. They like the cool ocean waters that support kelp forests. They love shellfish especially abalone. It is highly unlikely that sea otters have been brought to NJ and let go in the wild.

  5. Glad you stopped by! Thanks for the information on River Otters and/or Harbor Seals in Sea Isle

  6. Sea otter sighting on Saturday, 7/12/14 @ approx. 4:30 PM on 9th street beach in SIC in approx. 3 foot of water. He measured in excess of 3-1/2'.

  7. Sea otter sighting on Thursday, 7/10/14 on my neighbors dock. Off Sounds Ave - Whale Creek.

  8. Back in 96 I saw a harbor seal by the Avalon sea isle bridge on the sea isle side probably 90 street