Photo Credits: FACEBOOK.GOV.SG

This year National Geographic magazine is taking part in the #WhatMakesSG campaign. This collaboration between the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) and Nat Geo magazine to commemorate National Day, saw amongst other celebratory activities, a month-long photography contest held in April, which generated more than 7,000 entries.

Ms Kang Yen Thiing won the grand prize for her photograph of an otter family at Gardens by the Bay East. Did you see that photo of the otter family? OMG soooo cuuuuuuuuute 😍😍😍. And who even knew we had such adorable creatures living (and posing) on our doorstep!

Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, and Culture, Community and Youth Sim Ann said: “The #WhatMakesSG campaign represents the diversity and dynamism that is Singapore… to tell visual stories of what makes Singapore our home.”

And what a great visual story this does make. Adorable, familial and furry. All the characteristics we look for in pets!

But wait one multi-sensory moment……there’s more.

Turns out that these highly social and indeed super photogenic creatures communicate with each other via something called scent-marking.

Like other members of the weasel family, otters have well-developed anal scent glands found at the base of their tails. Their faeces or “spraints” (that wonderful British term for Otter poo) are sprinkled with scent from these glands which conveys information to other otters, so says writer Susan Shea in her shocking piece ‘The Odor Side of Otters’.

Otters it turns out; would, unfortunately, make really smelly pets.

So in this spirit of National Day 2018, I am grabbing my camera with the longest telephoto lens and heading down to the bay to snap some otters.