Dangerous Liasons: Interactions Between Pets and Sea Otters
Take some advice from the world's most sea otter savvy beagle, Harry: NEVER allow your dog to chase, harass, or interact with a sea otter!
A sea otter is capable of harming and even killing your pet.
Interactions between pets and wild animals are often interpreted as play, a term to which we often apply a human perspective. "Play" between a dog and a sea otter has been known to result in fatality to the pet.
If you allow your dog to interact with a sea otter you:
- risk injury and death to both
- risk transferring disease from your dog to the sea otter or vice versa
- are breaking two federal laws by causing harassment to a threatened species and a marine mammal.
Sea otters that cause injury or death to pets may end up being removed from the wild population.
Diseases that can be transmitted from your dog to a sea otter include canine distemper and rabies; diseases that may be transmitted from a sea otter to your dog include Salmonella, Streptococcus phocae, and possibly leptospirosis. Don't risk it!
Pet owners should immediately recall and restrain any pet approaching a sea otter.
Bystanders should also take action to discourage such interactions: encourage the owner to restrain their pet and remind them they are breaking the law.
Don't encourage this behavior by promoting videos and photos depicting interactions between pets and sea otters as "cute" on social media.
Be sea otter savvy with your pet!