John Koester says the otter plopped into the front of the boat, rolled around, scratched his belly and ears, and nibbled on rope and his shoes.
John Koester says the otter plopped into the front of the boat, rolled around, scratched his belly and ears, and nibbled on rope and his shoes. (Heather VanNes / Associated Press)

Friendly otter jumps onto kayak, joins birthday celebration

MOSS LANDING, Calif. — A friendly otter joined a couple celebrating a birthday in Northern California by jumping into one of their kayaks and making itself at home, rolling around and even nibbling on some shoes.

Heather VanNes said Wednesday she and her husband, John Koester, were celebrating his birthday Monday in a slough near Moss Landing and had just gotten in the water when they spotted a raft of otters.

They went by to watch them from a distance of at least 50 feet when one of the otters began swimming toward her husband's kayak and jumped right onto it.

Koester says the otter plopped into the front of the boat, rolled around, scratched his belly and ears, and nibbled on rope and his shoes.

He says it appeared the otter "was having a good time."

Koester says the otter was at least 80 pounds and stayed on the kayak for at least 10 minutes. After he started paddling, the otter jumped back into the water.

New York man caught speeding had license suspended 46 times

CORTLANDVILLE, N.Y. — A New York man whose driver's license has been suspended nearly four dozen times was arrested for speeding on Interstate 81 south of Syracuse.

Fifty-one-year-old Darwin Barnes was pulled over by New York State Police in Cortland County around 10 p.m. Wednesday after troopers say he was observed going 95 mph in a 65 mph zone.


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State police say the trooper who stopped Barnes found that the Rochester man didn't have a valid license. A check of Barnes' driving record showed that his license has been suspended a total of 46 times.

Barnes was charged with first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle, a felony. He has been released from the county jail after posting bail. It couldn't immediately be determined if he has a lawyer.

Associated Press