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It’s common to see animals at the beach. While fish, crabs, and—gasp!—even sharks swim and scuttle about in the waves, you’ll often find seagulls in the skies above and people’s pet dogs frolicking in the sand.

A footage has been spreading like a wildfire on the internet of a very friendly sea otter swimming to the shore of a beach in Canada and approaching a man. While this looks very cute to watch but an expert warned that one should stay away from them due to the danger for both humans and the mammals.

In August 2014, a man wading in a bay on Vancouver Island had a close encounter of the cutest kind recently, involving a wild sea otter that swam up to snuggle against his legs in a surprisingly long and intimate get-together.

The footage in the accompanying video was captured at Cadboro Bay in southern Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada and uploaded to YouTube by Allison Moore.


©YouTube Screenshot | allisonmoo

The brave man remained in the water, and even attempt to pet the otter.

At certain moment, a beach-goer is heard asking if he’s biting. The guy says “No…,” then almost immediately, he lets out an “OUCH!” But, he seemed to be fine.


©YouTube Screenshot | allisonmoo

The close encounter was rare, according to locals.

“I’ve been a fisherman and a diver on southern Vancouver Island for 35 years, and I’ve never seen one here,” Allan Crow told Times Colonist. “I had a hard time accepting what I was seeing, but that’s a sea otter. The currents are quick there, so it must have been separated from others.”


©YouTube Screenshot | allisonmoo

According to experts who are familiar with otter behavior, The sea otter has a powerful bite displays aggression when agitated.

Tessa Danelesko, a marine mammal expert at the Vancouver Aquarium affirms: “Getting close to otters and other marine mammals is dangerous for a number of reasons. They can behave unpredictably, which poses a safety risk if they use their natural defense mechanisms like teeth or claws. Animals can also transmit diseases to people through close contact.”

Illustration – Getty Images | Raffi Maghdessian

Andrew Johnson, Sea Otter Program Manager for the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, cautioned against encouraging this type of behavior, saying it could cause this otter to grow bolder and eventually become aggressive.

Johnson added: “Otters are curious. It’s usually the younger animals that have the time and inclination to interact with people, so avoiding/discouraging these interactions is the proper response. I know that people enjoy wildlife encounters and want memorable experiences, but letting wild animals approach and engage is beyond dangerous.”


©YouTube Screenshot | allisonmoo

Nevertheless, this guy seems to be okay with the unlikely encounter, the video garnered over 3 million views, many people look to have enjoyed his experience too.

One YouTube user wrote, “Otters are curious creatures, but this one takes the prize for bravest and friendliest!”

Illustration – Getty Images | Chase Dekker Wild-Life Images

It’d be hard to resist the urge to accept a friendly approach by such a cute and iconic animal, but we should take the experts’ advice for both the animal and our safeties

Watch the rare encounter below:

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