Caturday mustelid

March 28, 2009 • 10:02 am

Not to worry, a felid is coming, but for those of us who love animal schmalz, this video of “otters holding hands” is a must-see.  I dedicate it to the inamorata (you know who you are!):

Oh, and on matters otterine, one of the best nature-related books I’ve ever read is Ring of Bright Water, by Gavin Maxwell.  Maxwell had a fantastic life as a world traveller, naturalist, and writer, and I think this is his best book.  It simply recounts his years at Sandaig, a remote cottage on the west coast of Scotland, his relations with the local wildlife, and especially his friendship with several pet otters.  The writing is ineffably beautiful: some of the finest prose I’ve seen in any book about humans and their relationship to nature. Highly recommended.


This biography, by Douglas Botting, is also superb

3 thoughts on “Caturday mustelid

  1. I greatly enjoyed Ring of Bright Water but there’s no doubt Gavin Maxwell was crazier about otters than I’ll ever be. Living with otters is like living with Cats with Hands and he had to otter-proof his house as he discovered just how much they could trash in their curiosity.

    I’ll never forget his outrage (and the lesson) when one of his human-friendly otters let a stranger walk right up to it and kill it with a shovel. It’s a disservice to wild animals to make them too friendly.

    I suspect that he didn’t care much for people. Maxwell told the story of how he almost got some otters from the gamekeeper(?) of the Shah of Iran. The fall of the Shah meant only that he didn’t get his otters. He expressed no concern for the man who was to send them and whom he never heard from again.

    Not nearly as good writing, but a similar attitude to animals, is displayed by Lyn Hancock in her books An Ape Came Out of My Hatbox , etc. I picture her scribbling the books between moments of chaos and exhaustion.

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