47 posts categorized "Animals: Otters"

October 29, 2013

A Rio Remembrance

Shedd Aquarium River Otter

Shedd Aquarium lost one of its most enchanting family members today when the animal care and animal health teams made the difficult but humane decision to euthanize 21½-year-old North American river otter Rio. Her health and quality of life had deteriorated recently due to her advanced age. Rio exceeded by nearly a decade the known median life expectancy for river otters—12 years according to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums—thanks to excellent care, including advances in geriatric veterinary medicine, and her own zest for everything.

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September 28, 2013

Toy Story: The Sea Otters’ Version

Otter toys C and K rocker and car_blog

What do a plastic cutting board, car wash strips, a teetertotter and a hard hat have in common? They’re among the scores of otter-proof playthings you’ll find in the sea otter’s “toy cave.”

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September 25, 2013

Enrichment is the Name of This Game

SOAW Cayucos at wall puzzle_blog

Think of a game that’s a cross between pinball and pool, using a hollow ball stuffed with shrimp and played by a high-energy sea otter, and you’ve got the latest product dreamed up by Northwestern engineering students for Shedd. Sea otters and trainers agree—this new puzzle is a big winner.

The puzzle is a 44 x 32 x 6-inch box of thick plexiglass that fits into the window opening between the sea otter pup pool and the trainers’ area. On a recent afternoon, Cayucos, an almost-2-year-old southern sea otter, is poised to play. Standing upright on her hind feet on the ledge around the pool, her paws on the puzzle’s front panel, she peers through the clear plexiglass for trainer Lana Vanagasem to start the game.

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September 23, 2013

Sea Otters Take the Cake

SOAW otters finishing cake_blog

Welcome to Sea Otter Awareness Week, Sept. 22 through 28! To celebrate, we’ll share photos and videos, amaze you with fun facts and take you behind the scenes for glimpses into how we care for—and totally indulge—these littlest of marine mammals.

We got a jump on the week of all things sea otter a few days early when we gave the four otters—male Yaku and females Kiana, Mari and Cayucos—seven, count ’em, seven decorated Sea Otter Awareness Week “cakes” for them to eat, lick, hog, demolish and otherwise enjoy.

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August 26, 2013

Farewell to Kachemak

Kachemak_blog (2)

Every sea otter pup that has found a home at Shedd Aquarium is special, but Kachemak had an impish charm that melted the hearts of trainers, other staff members, volunteers, donors and even jet pilots. Maybe it was because she was the first of Shedd’s sea otters raised from infancy on site.

On Saturday, at the extraordinary age of 23½, Kachemak was quietly put to sleep, releasing her from a rapid decline in the last week from age-related infirmities. She was the oldest sea otter known in any North American aquarium or zoo.

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May 17, 2013

Endangered Species Have Their Day

Endangered mantella sign_blog

May 17 is Endangered Species Day. But we live among threatened and endangered plant and animal species every day. You might see them during a bird walk on the lakefront or on a hike through the Cook County forest preserves. You will see them swimming in Shedd’s exhibits and even growing in our gardens.

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March 09, 2013

Happy Birthday, River Otter Rio!

River Otter_blog
From her button nose to her long, tapering tail, North American river otter Rio rollicks and rolls in her Local Waters habitat, belying the fact that she turns 21 today.

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October 10, 2012

In Loving Memory of Sea Otter Kenai

Kenai_0391_blog (2)

Kenai, Shedd’s last surviving sea otter from the Exxon Valdez oil spill, was humanely euthanized Tuesday morning after a rapid decline in health. She was 23½ years old, an extraordinary age for her species.

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September 28, 2012

Sea Otter Awareness Week: Rescue and Rehab

Sea_otter_rescue0125_webNo one could have planned it in 1988: that Shedd would become a leader in rehabbing and raising sea otter infants, and in training these frisky, feisty cousins of weasels. No inland aquarium or zoo even had sea otters then.

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September 26, 2012

Sea Otter Awareness Week: Catching Up with Cayucos


It’s time to check in again with one of our marine mammal youngsters, southern sea otter Cayucos. She’s 10 months old now and weighs about 35 pounds—up from 11 pounds when she arrived in early January.

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