Otter at Sutro Baths ruins captured in photos and video

otter at Sutro Baths San Francisco

Photo: David Cruz

A river otter made an appearance at the ruins of Sutro Baths Wednesday morning, and a local photographer was there to capture it in pictures and video.

David Cruz lives nearby, and he headed down to the ruins at about 10 a.m. Wednesday, he said in an email to the Ocean Beach Bulletin. As he approached the flooded remains of one of the Sutro Baths pools, he spotted the otter relaxing in the sunshine on one of the foundation walls. It curled up in the vegetation at the edge of the water, rolled around on the wall near a great blue heron and seemed at ease in the remains of what once was one of San Francisco’s busiest attractions.

Cruz, who often photographs wildlife in Golden Gate Park and at Ocean Beach, said that he’s never seen an otter there before. Cruz did have a 300-millimeter zoom lens with him, but the walls of the ruins provided him with some cover to creep closer to the otter.

Check out more photos and a video of the Sutro Baths otter (all photos and video by David Cruz):

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  1. Hi Folks,

    For all who enjoy seeing the river otter at Sutro Baths, please be sure not to approach it, and to keep dogs on leash there. They are cute, but they are wild animals and will defend themselves if attacked. As part of a Bay-area-wide research study on these wonderful aquatic mammals, we have an Otter Spotter project. Please join the citizen-science effort and document river otter sightings on our website,

    You can see a range map of the Bay Area’s river otter sightings on the site, as well as learn about our project. Check out the festivals and presentations page for upcoming slide and video presentations of our project. The next one is at the Randall Museum on November 8, sponsored by the SF Naturalists’ Society.

  2. Is it a river otter or sea otter? They are different species.


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