British Columbia·Video

River otter rescued by resourceful B.C. family

A river otter became stranded in an empty pool when it was looking for a quiet place to enjoy a meal — but made it out with the help of Theo Truax and his family.

Theo Truax and his relatives tried multiple tools to help the otter out of an empty swimming pool

This river otter thought a pool would be a nice, quiet place to enjoy a meal, but ended up stranded. Luckily, a resourceful family came to the rescue. (Submitted by Theo Truax)

A B.C. family banded together during a family reunion last weekend to save a river otter stranded in an empty swimming pool.

Theo Truax, 26,  lives in Victoria but was in Comox, B.C., for the gathering. He says his aunt spotted the creature as it crawled under the fence into the yard of the family's rental property. It was carrying a big fish — and looking for somewhere to chow down. 

When it found the backyard pool, Truax said it "flopped" down into it, perhaps expecting the pool, which had but a few inches of water in the bottom, would be full. 

Through conversations with the property owner, Truax learned an otter, possibly the same one, had been spotted swimming in the pool when it was filled with water.

The otter began eating the fish, but once it realized it was being watched, it started to panic and look for a way out — but the smooth walls of the pool meant the otter was unable to climb out.

River otter rescued by resourceful family

5 months ago
Duration 0:40
During a family reunion, Theo Truax and his relatives rescued an otter that was stranded in a nearly empty pool and helped it return to the ocean.

"Then we realized that the otter was stuck," Truax said.

Family started to gather and look for ways to pull the otter out of the pool.

Truax said one cousin employed the pool scoop, but the otter was afraid of it. 

Next, the crew lowered a hose down into the pool, hoping the otter would be able to climb up. Unfortunately, it couldn't grip the rubber. 

Truax, a shipwright who specializes in wooden boats, disappeared to the beach to find a large log they could lower into the pool.

"I know how to pick a log," he said.

The log he chose, which Truax says was quite heavy, was the key. 

"[The otter] was pretty happy,."

As the otter made its way to the ocean, the family hauled the remains of the fish out of the pool to take to the beach, hoping the otter would be free to enjoy the rest of its dinner without incident. However, Truax said it wasn't quick enough for a couple of hungry eagles that swooped in before it could return. 

The family reunion continues, and Truax said all his relatives can talk about is the otter rescue.

"We were all very excited," he said.

"It's still the talk of the town."

With files from Brittany Roffel


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