updated 7/2/2008 11:21:45 AM ET 2008-07-02T15:21:45

Two baby river otters are safely in the care of a wildlife rescue group after a weekend excursion that took them through several Petaluma neighborhoods, including a stop at a local pub.

Residents began calling the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue hotline Friday night, reporting sightings of the pair slinking across porches and diving under fences.

The first otter was caught Saturday morning after a homeowner caught the animal sleeping between a garbage can and a flower pot. The second one, however, kept moving through town and was spotted by a man outside Mario & John's Tavern that night.

"He was afraid he'd sound crazy or we'd think he'd been drinking too much. But he said it hissed at him twice and then ran across the street into some bushes," said Donnie Figone, co-owner of the tavern.

Someone finally trapped the baby otter at an auto parts store Monday morning and called the rescue group.

Rescuers believe the mother of the 2-month old siblings, each about the size of a shoebox, may have been injured or died. Baby otters cannot survive long without their mother, spurring the weekend search for them.

Officials say a third otter also could be on the loose in town.

The baby otters will be moved to the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care center, which has an otter habitat, and eventually will be returned to Sonoma County to be released back into the wild, the rescue group said.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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