Animal Diaries Archive
18 July 2008
Over three months ago, Bonnie and Maria our two resident otters at Australia Zoo came to the exotics team. The two little girls are settling in very well and you cannot help but fall in love! Both of them are always on the go, always up to something and never sitting still for very long at all. It is an all day job to look after the two demanding girls.
Apart from being of the cutest animals at the Zoo, they are also one of the cleanest. Both girls love to stay to clean, and are constantly cleaning each other after each meal, swim and play. Not only are they always cleaning themselves, they choose one particular spot in the enclosure to go to the toilet. This means they keep the rest of their enclosure clean and tidy; just the way they like it!
Otters in the wild will build a nest in the side of a riverbank or stream; this is known as a Holt. It is usually quite large and consists of many tunnels and chambers. Bonnie and Maria have a Holt in the back of their enclosure, which they clean out every day. They are given palm and fern fronds every night, which the girls break up and use as bedding for their Holt. If we didn’t give them the bedding they would go around to all the plants and tear them up to make their bed. Both girls pitch in to help make their bed, by breaking up the branches, then taking turns to dragging it into the Holt. It usually takes the girls at least thirty minutes before they are happy enough with the Holt that they will sleep in it.
Every morning when we come to clean the enclosure, the girls are usually already up and running around. Once they know that we are coming they will go into the Holt and kick out everything in there, so we can take it out. Once they have used the bedding for one night they will not use it again. That is what makes them one of the cleanest animals in the Zoo.
Our Amazing Asian Small-clawed Otters
Both sexes generally weigh between 2.5 to 3kg. Of the 13 species of otter found throughout the world, this is the smallest, attaining a body length of 41 to 64c ...more