Otters are cute and playful enough to be the puppies of the sea, but what happens when one engages a dog in a battle of wits?

In this video, a silly otter living off the coast of Santa Cruz, Calif., surprises an Australian cattle dog with a game of peek-a-boo. The dog doesn’t know what to make of the pop-up otter, and looks rather bemused watching its taunts from the dock.

Lucky for the dog, he kept his distance during the game. As animal behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin explains, sea otters can be very dangerous and this one could have used his sharp canine teeth and claws to severely injure the dog if he got too close. Otters have even been known to try to pull dogs under the water to drown them!

Needless to say, otters may be quite cute and fun to watch, but it’s definitely best to admire them from afar.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons