That’s a Good Question; You Should Ask an Otter | by Corwin Ericson

If the reflective sides of two mirrors are pressed together, it is called “ottering,” due to the otter that appears within them.

What drives otters to the water? Hummingbirds.

Otter innards are served to kings and never eaten.

Check your boots for otters in the morning.

A good approximation of an otter can be fabricated with a straightened donut and two raisins.

Otters cannot wear contact lenses and lack the facial structure to support pince-nezes.

Otters are no longer inflatable.

From great heights, otters are undetectable.

Navel gazing is a simple matter for an otter.

Otters are not skinny; they are fine-boned.

Parthenogenic otters are infinitely divisible.

Tube socks are appropriate gifts for a seventh wedding anniversary (the otterversary).

Otters can walk on two legs if properly incentivized.

Otter insurance doesn’t come cheap.

The song “Pocketful of Otter” inspired a dance craze in Prohibition-era Scotland that led to riots and eventual secession.

The otter tax was hated by Colonists.

Otters are not tall enough for snow to form on their peaks.

An Otter Knife is a multipurpose folding pocketknife with exquisitely sharp and tiny flower de-petaling tools. The Officer’s model comes with pontoons.

Otters are thought to dance one leg at a time.

Otters do not even superficially resemble manatees, yet the confusion still exists.

A bas-relief carving of an otter consuming its own tail can be found on the altar of an ancient Micronesian temple of basaltic slabs built by unknown hands. It is thought to symbolize boredom.

The proper thing to do when espying an otter is to cover one’s eyes and point.

It is easy to imagine that otters would enjoy bumper pool more if they were allowed on the felt.

Right angles are unknown in otterdom.

Torque is not measured in otterpower.

Every schoolchild knows otters tie themselves in knots, but few know why.

Americans surround their houses with balloons because they terrify otters.

Good luck making an otter wear a life preserver.

Ben Franklin never suggested the otter as a national symbol, since he knew his fondness for them was taboo.

The word “otter” does not contain all of the letters of the alphabet, yet some still persist in believing this is so.

Otterpanion is a charity that pairs service-otters with terminally-ill children.

The desert kingdom of Abu Dhabi must import all of its otters from overseas.

Gertrude Stein claimed to have three otters, all named Basket. However, no one ever saw them in the same room at the same time.

The placement of the otter spoon consternates many etiquette students.

Which leg would an otter wear a watch on? It is not known.

It is best to leave your summer cabin unlocked so that wintering otters won’t have to break in.

The U.S. Government asserts that otterlogging is not abusive, yet the Geneva Convention forbids it.

Otters can sit perfectly still for several minutes at a time.

Well-informed people disagree on whether an otter’s head is its top or its front.

There has never been an otter depicted on U.S. currency.

If an otter wore a person’s sweater, it would only need one arm.

Cardboard tubes are excellent for otter storage.

How many otters do you know personally? It is likely you can count them on one hand.

Robert Benchley plagiarized his entire novel Jaws, merely changing the original otter to a shark.

An otter could climb a mountain if it so chose.

Otters may have an extra, hidden set of nostrils that have thus far eluded human observation.

Otters are made of flesh and bone, just like you.

Otters cannot be set to “vibrate mode.”

“Ye Otterre hath clambered unto mye culottes”: The first known citation of an otter in English literature. (Memoires of ye Aggreifed Ascot: A. Shayffaer, 1572)

During the Roman holiday of Otternalia, slaves wore otter costumes and lapped at the behinds of plutocrats, who had bathed in fish oil.

Ruins of the Otter Colossus have been carbon-dated to eight thousand years BCEO (Before the Common Era of Otters).

Ottermania destroyed the economy of several European countries in the 1600s.

Otter Fancying is a popular Boy Scout merit badge.

The governor of Ontario believed himself to be followed by invisible otters. Thus his constant applications of ottercide.

The Otter Range of interior Athabasca is really just a series of hummocks.

Never, never pet an otter backwards.

Banging pots and pans and baying like a pack of beagles will rid most buildings of otter infestations.

Otter merkins never really caught on, despite the Duke of Brewster’s fondness for them.

Ottertites are formed from fossilized otters which slept hanging from their tails. Ottermites are their petrified droppings.

Many of the otters in the long-running American TV series, The Soilers, were actually portrayed by minks and weasels.

Otter teeth bring their bearers both good and bad luck, depending on the circumstances of their extraction.

There is a black market for otter oosiks.

Few people continue to believe that “No more otters, for mercy’s sake!” were Grover Cleveland’s last words.

Hundreds of thousands of otter bones were found buried at Stonehenge.

In the film Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart improvised the line, “Circle the otters, again, Sam.”

The first subway tunnels in America, in Boston, Massachusetts, were only wide enough for three otters to walk abreast.

Otterism is a culturally-specific disease in Tierra del Fuego.

Whaling captains kept private stocks of otters penned in their quarters. This was the cause of many mutinies.

OtterBits are made from artificially-flavored texturized vegetable protein and contain an exorbitant amount of MSG.

For centuries, explorers sought the Otter Passage.

Sea otters and river otters can interbreed all they want, but they should know better.

Otterizing is not the same as Martenizing.

“I wish I were an Otter Mayer Weiner” is an example of the subjunctive mood.

There is no longer a commodities trade in otter bellies. Not since they learned to cooperate.

An otter polisher is something like a brown-noser, only oilier.

There is a vortex of otters in the fifteenth circle of Dante’s Inferno.

An Otterwich is not at all like a Manwich.

Bringing an otter indoors on the sabbath is considered taboo in many Christian sects.

An eight-otter hat will not actually hold eight otters. Five at the most.

A kind word to an otter is never wasted.



Corwin Ericson is the author of the novel Swell (Dark Coast, 2011) and Checked Out OK (Factory Hollow, 2013), a book-length found poem in the form of police reports. His work has been published in Harper’s Magazine, The Collagist, Conduit, Hobart, jubilat, and elsewhere. 

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