This past week, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was fortunate enough to welcome, to the Rocky Mountain Wild exhibit, two new otters from the Minnesota Zoo in
. These two newbies helped increase our otter family to four meowters (aka males; females are called queens). A lot of zoo goers don’t know much about otters, so in honor of our new otter family members, we thought it would be a good time for us to share some of our otter knowledge. Plus “Otters” could be the subject of the final question on the next episode of Jeopardy and now you’ll know the answer… Apple Valley, MN
According to early fossil remains, otters have been around for at least 30 million years. They can be found in very diverse locations close to bodies of water all over the world. “For $100 Alex – What animal lives all over the world, except in
Australia and Antarctica?” Otters are considered a marine mammal, average about four feet in length, and can weigh up to 30 pounds. “For $200 Alex – What is the smallest marine mammal in the world?” Their tail can be up to a foot long and makes up about 40% of their body. An otter’s anatomy allows them to live both on land and in water. The little swimmers can remain under water for up to four minutes and they can dive up to 250 feet in search of food. Otters have the thickest fur of all fur animals, which means they are the only known marine animal that doesn’t have blubber and uses their fur to keep them warm. “For $300 Alex – What animal has at least 250,000 hairs per square inch?”
Here at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, we are home to North American otters, but there are over 10 identified species of otters in the wild. In the wild, otters live for an average of 12 years. “For $400 Alex – What animal doubles their life span when in captivity?” They eat anything from fish to birds, and some people argue they also eat berries and leaves. Up to 25% of their body weight can be consumed in food on a daily basis. When female otters are nursing, they can eat even more than that. The families spend up to five hours a day hunting and consuming food. Like many otters, our otters here at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo are VERY playful and spend the majority of the day in the water or climbing the trees inside their exhibit. Otters love to sunbathe during the day and are very active at night as well. “For $500 Alex – What animal is considered to be one of the most intelligent animals in the world?”
Our four otters have become friends in a very short amount of time. We have Pahapi and Kuuyi who are four years old and have lived at our Zoo for the majority of their lives. The two new family members who were born just last year are Enapay, which means brave in Sioux, and Pivane, which means weasel in Hopi. The new additions are very dark in color and have been given the nickname dark chocolate. The older otters have been dubbed milk chocolate. We are so excited to have these two new additions!
Come up and visit them soon!