Many Singaporeans go gaga over otters. But some among us have a deeper appreciation for the cheeky critters living alongside us in our urban jungle.
In a Facebook post on 15 July 21, photographer Tan Yong Lin shared pictures of the Pasir Ris/ Changi smooth-coated otter family he had lovingly photographed over five years! That’s half a decade-long!
Tan said that he was able to take so many photos because he lived near their Pasir Ris habitat, and wanted to share it with netizens.
The family has grown smaller
He added that the otters featured in his photos were the same family, but from about 15 members, there were only seven now. Could most of them have grown up and started their own otter tribes elsewhere?
The dynamic photo above showed the family as they fished, with one of their members triumphant. You can even see surrounding otters exclaim at the catch.
Three pups are making their way in the sand towards the water. Otter swimming class is about the start! Did you know that otters are not natural-born swimmers and have to be taught how to swim by their parents?
Otter pups all grown up into seasoned, sleek, swimmers.
Tan also shared photos of otters versus dog. Otters and pets can coexist in harmony, if everyone remained calm and at a distance!
Behind the scenes
Speaking to Alvinology, Tan shared that he spends hours “lying on the beach and not moving much, in order for the otters to ignore my presence.”
“Once they are comfortable, that is when I can get beautiful photos of them in their element,” he added.
Without his patience lying in wait for the perfect photo opportunity, we would not have this snap of this mother otter bringing its wet and squirming pup back to dry land.
These two young otters are engaging in rough-and-tumble play, important for honing fighting skills to use against rival otter families.
otters make wonderful subjects
When asked why he enjoyed taking so many photos of otters, Tan had this to say: “I like photographing otters as they make wonderful subjects because of how closely knitted they are as a family.”
He has observed adults catching fish for the younger pups, and watching out for them as they learn to swim.
“They practically do everything together as a family, from hunting, playing and sleeping together,” he added.
Respect otters as wild animals
Tan, however, warns against excessive anthropomorphism of the otters.
“otters are wild animals at the end of the day, so I still use a zoom lens and keep a safe distance at all times. Should they approach me, I will remain completely still until they eventually lose interest or move along.”
But for this otter, it seemed to want its pictures to be taken. Hoping to become the next ‘otterfluencer’ perhaps?
Another sea-lebrity spotted!
You can find more otter snaps on Tan’s Instagram.
All images via Tan Yong Lin