Next, the otters were placed in separate spaces where they could see, hear and smell each other. “The otters made vocalizations toward one another like squeaks and chirps,” said Urban. “There were no signs of stress, and we saw positive indicators this introduction would go well.”
The last step in the planned introduction was to allow the otters to be in physical contact with each other. During this period, keepers closely monitored the animals and were surprised by how smoothly the introduction went. The otters showed immediate interest in one another.
“Upon introduction, the female appeared to be actively leading their socialization and play,” said Urban. “Over the next few weeks staff and our guests will be able to watch the personalities of these otters develop further as they get to know one another.”
The River Museum also has a third North American River Otter named Momma who is housed in an adjacent habitat. Due to her age and temperament, she will continue to live independently from the younger otters who will remain on display in the Flooded Forrest until a new otter habitat can be constructed in the next few years.
Funding made possible inpart by the Alliant Energy Foundation.