Thursday, January 16, 2014
How to tell the Aquarium's otters apart
It was a simple question that a guest asked me recently. How do you tell the otters apart?
The following is a quick spotting guide to the six sea otters currently being cared for by the Aquarium of the Pacific, from youngest to oldest.
Chloe: Chloe is an otter that still has the dark furry face of a youngster. Senior Mammalogist Michele Sousa describes Chloe as a gregarious little otter. This personality trait can help one tell the difference between her and the other young otter in the exhibit. Chloe is the one continuously interacting with other otters. Look for the young otter tackling other otters in the exhibit.
Betty: Betty is also a young, dark-furry-faced youngster. Only a year older than Chloe, Betty carries herself a bit differently. Even side by side it’s sometimes hard to tell them apart, so it’s fortunate that her personality is distinct from Chloe’s. Named after the actress Betty White, she is a bit more laid back and less gregarious than her younger exhibit mate. She also seems to like to hang around Brook and has taken on many of Brook’s more refined mannerisms. Look for the young otter floating peacefully with another otter or exploring the exhibit on her own.
Ollie: Ollie has a dull white, narrow face with expressive eyes. She is the most curious and daring of all the otters in the exhibit. An expert manipulator of her environment, she has been known to take apart parts of the exhibit using only her paws. Highly intelligent, Ollie once figured out that if you press a Frisbee on the side of the viewing glass the vacuum created would make it stick. She would stick the disk on the glass so that she could go off and check out other things in the exhibit and then come back and peel her toy back off. Ollie also likes checking out the guest on the other side of the glass. Look for the otter constantly moving around the exhibit checking out everything, even you!
Maggie: Maggie’s furry face has a more dirty-blond look to it when wet. She also has soulful eyes. She is another otter that likes to look back at the people checking her out. She will even race kids back and forth along the exhibit for fun. She like keeping the younger otters around her in a motherly type of way. Look for the adult otter hanging around the youngsters or along the glass interacting with people.
Brook: Brook is the classic-looking sea otter. When dry, she has a brilliantly white face. She carries herself quite regally and never seems to be in a hurry. Brook loves ice and loves to sit on her ice patch under the skylight. Look for the otter grooming herself under the skylight.
Charlie: Charlie is the only male sea otter in the exhibit and the easiest to spot. He and Brook look similar, but Charlie is much larger. Charlie also has a habit of sucking his paw while floating on his back. Look for the biggest otter in the exhibit and the one with his paw in his mouth.
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