The antics of a trio of River Otters entertained us for a couple of hours as they romped in the partially frozen Lamar River last week in Yellowstone National Park slipping in and out of the narrow channels that remained unfrozen. They could not keep their eyes off the Elk carcass that was partially submerged in the water but they seemed not to be able to get up the courage to venture closer. Although it was in the midst of the Otter domain, Coyotes dominated the carcass, resting on the snow covered ice close by when they were sated and chasing away the Black-billed Magpies that picked at the frozen flesh. Unconcerned, the Otters occupied their time frolicking above and beneath the ice just for the sheer joy of the frolic. Their antics were hilarious as they romped across the ice, climbed a hill, then slid down the embankment, only to climb up and slide down again. They would run across the ice, disappear into the water, and emerge a hundred yards down the river. When we thought they’d disappeared for good, they would reappear, suddenly popping up in an unfrozen spot in the river to peer at the carcass again. They really are the clowns of the river.