Tomorrow, February 26, the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium in Sarasota, Florida, is opening a brand new otter exhibit(!) called Otters & Their Waters.
The exhibit will feature North American river otters and provide an otter’s-eye view of their watershed homes. Watersheds- lands that drain water toward rivers, estuaries and the sea- are important to people and myriad wildlife, including river otters, their prey and many animals from land to the coastal oceans where Mote Marine Laboratory scientists carry out their research.
Visitors will see three otters- Huck, Jane, and Pippi- that were orphaned too young to survive alone and so were raised by wildlife rehabilitators. Mote’s animal care specialists will work with the otters and educate guests during narrated training sessions. Huck, Jane and Pippi are all too tame to be released, and they will serve as ambassadors for their watershed homes at Mote.
Huck was found in September 2015 by a veterinarian in Melbourne, Fla. He was 5 months old and appeared to have issues using his hind legs. He was people-friendly, suggesting he might have been hand-raised. He received a veterinary checkup, and within days his hind leg issues seemed to be gone.
Jane was rescued in spring 2015 and came to Mote from an animal rehabilitation facility in Conway, South Carolina. At the time of rescue, she was about 4-6 weeks old and weighed only about two pounds. She weighed ten pounds on arrival at Mote. Jane and Pippi, raised at the same facility, enjoyed a diet that started with Gatorade (a source of electrolytes) and otter formula. At 8-10 weeks, they were weaned on a protein-rich diet including scrambled eggs, ground turkey and more, then eating fish and crab meat, and ultimately, whole fresh fish. They learned to swim in a bathtub and then a larger pool. Jane is more dominant than Pippi and loves to play in her sandbox.
Pippi was rescued in spring 2015 and came from the same Conway, S.C.-based facility as Jane. At the time of rescue, she was believed to be a week to 10 days younger than Jane and weighed 2.1 pounds. She weighed 7 pounds on arrival at Mote. Pippi is more shy and calm than Jane, with darker coloring around her face.
Please watch Mote’s web site and social media for upcoming announcements. Share your excitement with us by using #MoteOtters on social media.
Happy Ottersday :#)