Hi girls, come on up! My favorite part about this job has to be the interactions that I get with these animals. There you go Gigit and Abby you get that
one. I think that thing that surprises me most about the otters is how smart they really are. All the otters that we have on exhibit are all here because they’re rescued animals. They used to be the wild at some points in their life, but for whatever reason they weren’t surviving. So we brought them here and now we’re kind of giving them that second chance at life. Sea otters out in the wild will eat shrimp, squid, clams, crabs, mussels… But we have these pretty
windows down there and so instead of giving them that hard crab that they’ll
go and smash against the window, we give them a little enrichment item, where they
still have to figure out how to get that food out of there like they would a crab.
But instead of having the shell that they’ll scratch the windows with, they
can use that toy and kind of manipulate it to get the food out. We have a lot of enrichment items. We have an entire shed full of stuff from big kiddie pools to
small little enrichment items. And we have an enrichment calendar and each day we have something different written on it. So in a month we’ll do 30 different
things on the 30 different days. We also have our own ice machine up here, which is one thing that they really love is munching on ice as well. That’s kind of the point of enrichment–is enhancing their lives. So it’s not just something that keeps them
entertained and is fun for them, it also is something that would exhibit their
natural behavior as well. As I said they’re very, very smart and they very
much impresses with how quickly they can figure stuff out. We’ll give them these
enrichments that’ll take us 20 minutes to put together and within a few minutes
they have it all disassembled, all the knots are untied, and they’ve gotten all
the food out! Even if it takes a little while, which is actually, you know, kind of
our goal too–the longer the better, because then it’s more that they’re kind
of working. They pretty much always end up figuring out how to get the food out.
And then the next time we give it to them they’re like “oh, we figured it out
already,” so we always have to try to change it up as much as possible.