Dozing polar bear, Indianapolis Zoo

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pulled from the comments, another amazing otter story

Commenter and Sancho fan Dave was kind enough to tell us the incredible story of the river otter he raised as a kid in Florida. Dave writes:

I was about 13 or 14 when my otter turned up behind my house. We lived on a small river down in Florida. The otter my mom named Samba was alittle older than Sancho. His mother had been killed by something, it looked like maybe a boat or a gator. He took to my dog (Golden Retriever) like it was his mother. The two where always together they would meet me at the bus stop in the afternoons and we would play and fish most days. I didn't have the knowledge of Carolina to help him get back to being on his own. So he would mostly just sit lay next to me while I fished for his food.

To me otters have the best outlook on things they are always playing and socializing with there family and friends. He could sence if I was stressed when I would get off the bus from school (everybody knows middle school can be a stressful place) and he would always do something funny or make weird noises and before I knew it whatever had happed that day was long forgottin. Alittle like Sancho's story mine does not have the best ending. One day Samba was in the garage under my fathers car and he was running late to work or something and he was trying to get Samba to come out (my father and Samba did spend alot of time together so Samba did not know him that well) so he reached under his car to pull Samba out and grabbed him by the tail and Samba bit him. It was not a bad bit I asked my dad and he said it didn't even draw blood but like any caring parent he was concerned and he called the local wildlife department.

Thats the sad part like Sancho's story. Here is the nice ending many years later with what would later become my wife, we where at Seaworld and I was telling my to be wife that a had raised in otter for about a year just like the one in show we where watching. I also told her that the local wildlife department didn't have the right habitat ect to keep my otter so they gave him to Seaworld. So she pressured me to go ask after the show if he was still around. So I did knowing that the likelyhood was very slim. But I did knowing my soon to be wife would not let me off the hook if I didn't.

I walked up to the trainer after the show and asked if they had an otter named Samba he said no, "I know it" is what I was thinking. The trainer asked why I told him my story and where I was from and how long ago it was. He told me that was really weird because they have an otter that came from the same area I lived same age as Samba would have been ect... But his name was Otis. He asked me if I would like to see him, Of corse I said yes so me and my wife went behind stage to the otter habitat.

I had no idea they had as many otters as they did there must have been 10-12 otters of all different types and before we even got up to the habitat the guy was going to show us I pointed out Samba and he saw me. He was standing up tall at the back of his little river area and he ran up to the front wall so I could see him. The trainer laughed and said so you do know Otis. I talked with the trainer for quite some time then and he told me that I answered alot of the question he and the other trainers had as to why Samba was the way he was. They told me he was by far the oldest otter they had but still the fastest out of the water he said that he runs more like a dog than the others and that it now make sences being that my dog and him where like a Mother - son relationship.

So I am holding out hope that one day Sancho and Carolina will be reunited like me and Samba where.

Thanks to Dave for sharing this great story! I love it.


Trailhead said...

Dave, where in Florida are you? Florida is one of my favorite places in the world.

Dave said...

Bradenton/Sarasota just south of Tampa. Thanks for posting that. I will have to see if I can find a few pictures of Samba to share on here.

Dave said...

Trailhead, what part of Florida do you vistit?
Have you heard from Carolina lately? How is she doing? Has she been back to the Pantanal this year?

Trailhead said...

Dave, I've spent a lot of time in the Everglades, and in the St. Augustine area doing photography at the alligator farm there, as well as in the Keys. Lived in Gainesville for 2.5 years in a former life.

Carolina is in Brazil right now -- she won't be able to go to the Pantanal this trip, but she went last summer. She's about to return to London and start work on her Master's thesis, which involves giant otters, of course.

Trailhead said...

Oh, and Dave, pictures of Samba would be great! Just email them to the address on the right. However, I'll be taking off this afternoon to do a combination of camping and kayaking all weekend, so I'll be away from the computer and won't be able to respond till Sunday afternoon. Thanks again for sharing your story.

Caljit said...

Thanks for the excellent story about Samba! Just watched "Raising Sancho" last night (had TiVo'd it a while back). I am so grateful for this blog and all the comments and information.

I especially enjoy reading the comments on why people think they are affected so deeply by this show. I was thinking to myself, sobbing after the show, that there must be an explanation particular to my own life history. But as I read all the comments on this blog, I wonder if the reason so many of us are affected by Sancho's story is something more mysterious, yet universal. Certainly it is a beautiful, heartbreaking, and remarkable account of the human-animal bond.

Dave said...

Caljit, I am very thankful myself to Trailhead for this blog and keeping it going. I just hope the show can raise enough awareness to help animals like the giant otters and others.

Dave said...

This is nice video I found.
He sure will be missed!!!!

Fran said...

That's an incredible beautiful story Dave!
I also saw Raising Sancho on T.V but that was already more than one year ago (January 2008) Also i was touched by his story! In search of more news about him also i came on Trailhead' s blog! I even learned to work with the computer to follow Trailhead!
I am looking forward to see pictures of you and Samba and thank you for the nice video!

Trailhead said...

Caljit, I didn't figure my own reaction completely until my life fell apart several months later. I can't remember if my own emotional connections are written here or elsewhere, but I think a post about it may be in order. ;)

Dave, thanks for that video!

keeper said...

awwwwwww that was a very sweet story!!