Friday, April 17, 2020

O is for Otters (Folktales of Endangered Species)

Welcome to the 2020 A to Z blogging challenge! This year my theme is Folktales of Endangered Species. I am researching cool traditional stories about rare, fascinating animals - to raise awareness of what we might lose if we don't get our collective shit together. Enjoy!

Species: Sea otter (Enhydra lutris)

Status: Endangered

The girl who married a sea otter
Coos legend

There are various legends among the indigenous people of Oregon about women who marry sea otters. In one version a young woman rejects all her human suitors, and goes swimming in the ocean, after which she becomes pregnant. The boy she gives birth to keeps crying until he is given seal fat to suck on. A sea otter man comes from the ocean and takes the woman and the baby with him to the realm of the sea otters. The woman, now transformed into a sea otter, swims back up a river to visit her family. People shoot arrows at her at first, but they can't wound her, and she collects the arrows for her sun. After that, sea otters and humans live in peace; sea otters send furs to the people sometimes, and give them whales washed ashore.
In another version a girl rejects all human suitors and hopes for a sea otter lover. She gets pregnant from the sea and gives birth to a boy. A sea otter man comes from the sea and puts her to several tests, which she passes with the help of a friendly sea gull. She marries the sea otter, and her children bring valuable gifts to their grandparents as payment for them accepting the marriage. 

Sources: Find the stories in this book. Find another version in this book.

How can I help?

Read about conservation efforts here, here, or here.

If you were to live as a sea creature, what creature would you prefer to be?


  1. I like those stories. Maybe it is the sea otter's playful spirit that attracts the maidens? A sea otter might be a fun sea creature to be, as they live near the shore, have fur, and are warm blooded.

  2. Otters are adorable :-)
    I like the second version a lot more than the first, for some reasons.

    The Old Shelter - Living the Twenties

  3. If I was a sea creature I'd like to be be a merman!

    O is for ...

  4. Otters are so cute! I would love to be a dolphin ;)
    O is for Oya

  5. Otters of Oregon--I like the alliterative choice today:)

  6. We have sea otters where we live. When we used to take our sea-loving dog in the boat he’d want to jump out of the boat and play with the otters. It’s not fun around the marina, the otters get on the docks and on boats and leave a mess. They are funny to watch in the water though.

    I may not comment often but I’m loving your tales. I’m also reading some of your older ones. I told my (grown) kids about your blog, I think they may like your stories too.

  7. Otters are a delight to watch.Did not know they were endangered.
    I would be a dolphin.
    The Letter O

  8. watching otters have fun...maybe I'd be an otter! Cheers! See you tomorrow!

  9. I've always loved otters. I used to want a pet otter named Oscar.

    I'd probably want to be a dolphin or porpoise, since they're large and intelligent. Tropical fish are gorgeous, butt they're fairly simple-minded. At the end of my days, I want to be buried at sea, with all these beautiful undersea creatures swimming around me.

  10. I love sea otters, they make such wonderful noises and they are so family orientated. If I had to be a sea creature, I think otter or dolphin - they seem the happiest.
    Tasha 💖
    Virginia's Parlour - The Manor (Adult concepts - nothing explicit in posts)
    Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles

  11. Reminds me of Selkies :-) It's horrible how many creatures are on the endangered list.

    An A-Z of Faerie: Occult