Otter-mania struck Grayson County last week with a Denison otter sighting near Elm and Morton streets. Social media exploded as local residents liked, shared and commented on the video.

Although it was made clear that a neighborhood is not an appropriate habitat for an otter, we all couldn’t help but wish we had gotten a chance to see the adorable creatures before they were picked up and relocated by animal control.

It is hard to say what makes otters such appealing animals. Their charismatic personalities certainly play a large part in adding to their cute factor, but their tendency to slide on their bellies and engage in acrobatic play make them even more fun to watch.

Earlier this year Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge held an educational program on Hagerman’s river otters where Austin College biology professor Jessica Healy gave the lecture on local otters and their physical characteristics, social lives, habitat and role in the ecosystem.

Healy said river otters don’t tend to venture much further west than Grayson County due to the lack of available habitat. The semi-aquatic mammals are members of the weasel family. The otters are highly social animals that are generally found on the banks of rivers, lakes and ponds where there is an abundance of fish.

For those of us who will be venturing out to Hagerman in search of these adorable animals, Healy recommends looking for tracks with five webbed fingers. Although Hagerman is an excellent habitat for otters, few have been observed so far.

Challenge accepted.

Happy birthday to Pat Russell, Akeyla Jackson, Jerod D. Jacobs and James Walker, all of Sherman; De Marshall and Patti Farr, both of Denison; Torie Arrington of Gunter; David Bishop of Sapulpa, Oklahoma; Faye Nibley of California; Sircar Brown of South Dakota; and Lila Miser.

Happy anniversary to James and Sharon Cobb of Denison, 55 years; and Randy L. and Donna L. Nelson of Sherman, 20 years.