It sounded like a whimsical tale for small children. California Gov. Gavin Newsom regaled a group of rapt Paradise Ridge Elementary School students with tales of his unorthodox first pet.
“You want to know the truth? My first pet was an otter. Like, an otter. Like otter. And his name was Potter. Potter the otter,” Newsom said, in video later shared on the governor’s Twitter feed.
Newsom’s shared the story on a visit to Paradise, where he met with kids who were displaced by the deadly Camp Fire last year and returning to class in a newly built school.
His childhood pet set inquiring minds on Twitter wondering: Did the governor really have a pet otter named Potter?
Newsom’s chief spokesman Nathan Click quickly weighed in to share a SFGate story about a family that knew Newsom as “a cute toddler,” and sure enough they mentioned a pet otter as well.
According to state law, it is legal to keep certain kinds of otters as pets.
Newsom said that his father brought the otter into the home through his conservation work, and that “Newsom has fond memories of cuddling Potter and swinging it on a telephone cord,” according to a Los Angeles Times reporter who accompanied Newsom on the trip.
It didn’t take long after the tale of Potter the otter spread for the otter to even get a Twitter account. And of course that account is following Newsom.