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Troubles with river otters ...

Posted by Alan Boysen 
Troubles with river otters ...
December 26, 2010 12:01PM
Friends of ours living on the north east side of Bowen have very determined river otters trying to live in the crawl space. The stench of fish, etc. is at times, overwhelming. Our friends have blocked off all holes, so the otters have taken to burrowing to gain access.

Any suggestions for permanently deterring these unwanted guests?

Re: Troubles with river otters ...
December 26, 2010 01:36PM
Moth balls are known to deter otters, and other pests too.
Re: Troubles with river otters ...
December 26, 2010 01:40PM
Not sure about crawl spaces but have had boating friends with otters on their swim grids & decks.

BLEACH seemed a good deterrent, both the smell and contact with it. The added bonus is it cleans up the mess the otters have created. Mind you there is a big difference between a boat and a crawlspace.

A professional pest company may be the best bet. I definitely wouldn’t want a family of otters in the crawlspace come springtime and the birth of pups...

Also, they require water for washing their fur to maintain it's thermal protection as well as drinking. Perhaps your friends have a fish pond or a stream nearby which makes their yard more attractive?

Best of luck.

Re: Troubles with river otters ...
December 26, 2010 03:24PM
Keep in mind please that mothballs are extremely toxic to all animals. You have a dog, which is why I bring this up.
Installing a light source under there would deter raccoons and skunks. I wonder if the same would apply to otters?
Re: Troubles with river otters ...
December 26, 2010 03:31PM
I once heard that very loud rock music will drive them away; and who could blame them.
Re: Troubles with river otters ...
December 26, 2010 03:53PM
Iris: boaters will commonly place moth balls in a sealed plastic container with holes punched in it. Dog proof.
Re: Troubles with river otters ...
December 26, 2010 04:13PM
Ammonia in an open container....they will never come back. You can buy it at the General Store.
Re: Troubles with river otters ...
December 26, 2010 11:18PM
James, some dogs will eat anything... even plastic! I was just adding a caution. No need to leave poisonous substances around if there might be non toxic alternatives (IMO). This has some interesting reading, Susan...


The article is selling a product but maybe you can just duplicate the ingredients? Here's an excerpt... "Dr. Joe Gaydos. He is an expert on river otters who works for SeaDoc, a university-based marine science program specializing in the Pacific NW’s inland waters and whose field office is on Orcas Island. Dr. Gaydos applied Ropel to three of six low-lying docks in his test, leaving three untreated. Over time he noted a distinct decrease in the amount of poop left by the visiting otters on the treated docks, but he also wants to be sure that no one expects Ropel to be a ”cure all” for the problem. He notes that mothballs distributed around a float surface have worked for some individuals, though mothballs are most effective in an enclosed area and should not be used where household pets and young children could come in contact with them. Ropel consists of natural ingredients such as cayenne, peppermint oil, and thyme in a granular form..."

Also, some good tips on this page...

Here is excerpt...

Use a commercial repellent like “Critter Ridder” by Yardiac to keep otters out of your garden. This particular product has pepper oils in it and the company promises that a single application will keep creatures from digging and foraging for up to 30 days.

Make your own repellent. People in the country swear that Listerine mouthwash will keep mosquitoes and other insects from biting and it may just work on otters as well. Try spraying it on the ground under your plants, or wherever the otters are causing the most havoc. Or make a citronella spray. Dogs really don't like citronella and it could be that otters won’t like it any better. To make the spray, add a few drops of citronella essential oil to a cup of water; pour the mixture in a spray bottle and spray.

Make some noise. You can install a radio in the garden with a motion sensor that will turn it on when the otters come by. Select a station that won’t appeal to otter sensibilities. If you’re more into crashes and bangs, look into a zon gun. You hook this device up to propane and every now and again, it goes “bang” almost like a real gun. No harm done but it makes a big, scary noise. It’s not your best choice if you have neighbors.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 12/26/2010 11:38PM by Iris Carr.
Re: Troubles with river otters ...
December 26, 2010 11:41PM
Dogs will eat anything. Dirty diapers, nuclear waste or children. So don't leave anything lying around. Neighbour's dog ate the bumper off my truck two nights ago. I had a dog once so dumb he starting eating himself until there wasn't anything left but his snapping drooling maw jumping around on the rug like some dime-store novelty item. Everything is on the menu for a dog.
Re: Troubles with river otters ...
December 27, 2010 08:02AM
If the smell of moth balls is effective - and one of the least offensive to you Susan as occupier, then surely a dog proof container could be made? I am thinking for example of an old paint tin with a firmly attached lid - preferably with those little spring clips, or self taping screws, or locktite or .... to ensure the lid does not come off, with a few small punched or drilled holes and a bunch of moth balls inside would do the trick? Or if it's really serious an old oil drum ...!!
Re: Troubles with river otters ...
December 27, 2010 09:31AM
Thanks for the collective wisdom - I've passed these suggestions on to our friends.

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