Otters causing problems for marinas at Missouri lake

Local News

They’re cute and fun to look at, but these otters are causing some trouble underneath docks and boats on a Missouri lake.

Several of these critters have been spotted sneaking around and stealing fish from right under anglers’ noses at Lake Taneycomo.

Several marina owners in Branson spoke about some of the damage the animals are causing, including Jimmy Cummings, the operations supervisor at Lilleys’ Landing Resort and Marina.

“They’ve been sighted occasionally for years, but it’s only been recently that we’ve seen a lot of activity,” Cummings said.

Cummings has seen a few otters underneath and around his docks.

“They have recently been snagging some fish from the stringers that are left on the side of the dock,” Cummings explained.

“They can claw and eat upholstery, the foam that’s behind the upholstery, life jackets, safety cushions, they’re kind of mischievous hey like to steal those,” said Lamar Patton, the owner of Scotty’s Trout Doc, “and as well as chew and they like to poop on those too. Once they mark a spot, they all know to come to that spot. So where you had one, you may have 4 or 5 a night coming to that spot.”

Patton said he’s had some pretty bad experiences with otters.

“A couch on a pontoon boat, come in one morning, and it’s just shredded,” Patton said.

The animals are also having an effect on Patton’s bottom line.

“We’ve had a customer or two that would leave because of the boat damage as far as them getting on it every night and defecating on their boat, cover, and after a while, they just get tired of cleaning up after it,” explained Patton.

But both marina workers said it is part of their business to deal with wildlife.

“As long as you manage it, keep everything in check, they’ll still be around and that’s okay,” said Patton.

“Occasionally we’ll see one or two, they can make some loud squeaky noises and they’ll let you know when they’re around,” Cummings explained, “but it’s just a part of living here in the Ozarks, we enjoy the wildlife that we get to encounter.”

Even though the otters are becoming a nuisance for dock owners, the Department of Conservation said otters are needed in the wild.

So now, the marina will have to do everything they can to protect their property.

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