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Otter tile

Our four Oriental Small-clawed otters not only like to be kept busy, but they like to have fun too!

Otter with a food puzzle

Our family of otters who are sponsored by LANXESS consists of father “Arnie”, named after Arnold Schwarzenegger because he looked big, strong and muscular. The other three otters are his off-spring. The eldest is female Bising with younger brothers Soa and Houdini.

The otters have fun whether it is on land or deep in the water in their exhibit. The keepers are kept busy thinking of new ideas to keep the family challenged and interested. The otters get behavioural enrichment every day so that each day is always a different experience. Some behavioural enrichment is food related, chicken mince or peanuts, or it could be something to play with, balls, hay sacks or plastic bottles – just to name a few items.

Bising poking the fishy treat out
Bising poking the fishy treat out
With eating and playing being two of their favourite pastimes, their newest behavioural enrichment toy combines both! A PVC sealed pipe with some small holes drilled into it so that some fish or prawns can be put inside. The otters challenge is to get the food out...

The otters have very short claws – hence their name, these claws actually look like tiny finger nails, but the tips of their fingers remain bare, smooth, soft and sensitive. In the wilds of South-east Asia in muddy water they rely on their whiskers and sensitive finger tips to find their food. 

Their little soft paws will manipulate their new toys in the water while playing to get the food to float out. While the otters are keeping busy now, the keepers are busy thinking up new ideas for another day.

- Lesley, Carnivore Keeper

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