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Maggie the Physics Otter

Sea Otter Maggie with enrichment toy
Maggie grabs a calm filled toy

Hugh's Aquarium Views Video Number 60

The staff at the Aquarium of the Pacific regularly engages the sea otters with enrichment toys that stimulate their brains to solve a puzzle. In this video, you can see one such toy, a clam-filled ball. The clams are stuffed in a tunnel running through the ball. Maggie the sea otter has to think about how she can get to the clams. Her solution is to use physics by banging the ball against the exhibit’s acrylic viewing glass. The clams inside move with the ball until the ball comes in contact with the glass, stopping the momentum of the ball. Because a body in motion stays in motion until acted upon by a force, the clams tend to move forward a bit longer than the ball thus coming closer to the opening of the tunnel. She keeps hitting the ball on the glass until the clam is close enough to the opening for her to get to it. Maggie the physics otter can then enjoy her well-earned treat.

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