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Ohelemapit

What is that creature in the American River?

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George McKamy was out for an early morning walk along the American River at Sutter's Landing when he was startled by a loud noise coming from the water.

"It scared the pants off of me," McKamy said in an email.

He was able to get his camera up in time to get a shot of the creature that made the noise, and believes he took a picture of a small whale's blowhole.

But other regular visitors to Sutter's Landing said what McKamy saw was more likely a large sea lion that's been hanging around the area in recent weeks feeding on fish.

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Dolphin??

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Sea Cow or manatee?

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Any of those would fit, although the whale would be a bit of a stretch in my opinion.

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I would say, maybe an otter? Because I know a dolphin or manatee doesn't quite fit considering the American River is so far inland, and I'm not even sure it has access to the ocean.

Not to mention, I don't think dolphins would survive the rapids.

Lived in California all my life. Regularly went camping at the American River.

There are a lot of otters in the rivers of California, and it would make sense.

And I know what you're thinking... Explain the size.

Well, when otters go to sleep, they float on their backs, usually.

While sleeping, otters will hold one another's so that they don't float away.

They can also hold each other's hands in groups. Get enough sleeping otters, and you got a mysterious floating mass that people could easily mistake for a sea monster.

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I would say, maybe an otter? Because I know a dolphin or manatee doesn't quite fit considering the American River is so far inland, and I'm not even sure it has access to the ocean.

Not to mention, I don't think dolphins would survive the rapids.

Lived in California all my life. Regularly went camping at the American River.

There are a lot of otters in the rivers of California, and it would make sense.

And I know what you're thinking... Explain the size.

Well, when otters go to sleep, they float on their backs, usually.

While sleeping, otters will hold one another's so that they don't float away.

They can also hold each other's hands in groups. Get enough sleeping otters, and you got a mysterious floating mass that people could easily mistake for a sea monster.

The river is connected to the sea, and Sutter's Landing is not far inland only 60 miles. The shape does look like a shape you would find find on a marine Mammal

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The river is connected to the sea, and Sutter's Landing is not far inland only 60 miles. The shape does look like a shape you would find find on a marine Mammal

I didn't know it was connected to the sea, but since it is, it does raise a lot of new possibilities. I remember in the early 90's I believe, a beluga whale traveled from the ocean right near I lived in the Suisun waterfront. Not to mention, the same thing happened with a whale and her baby a few years back. So it's not IMPOSSIBLE for marine life to travel in that far.

Thanks for that clarification!

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It's interesting, I've been up here a week and not a single word on any of the local news stations about it.

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It is answered in the article :

Paddleboard instructor Rob Macias caught the sea lion on video Feb. 5, and said the mammal was about three-quarters the length of his 12-foot paddleboard.

Macias said he, too, was startled by the sound of the massive exhale.

"That's what attracted me at first. I was paddling and heard that sound," Macias said.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife warden Patrick Foy said it was unusual for sea lions to venture so far up the American River, but certainly not unheard of.

"Anywhere there's fish, the sea lions will follow," Foy said.

During the Salmon runs, Seals and Sea Lions go many miles up the rivers here, and these rivers are much smaller then the American River.

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