Friday, 4 May 2012
Otter Enrichment- Thinking inside the box!
We are always on the look out for new ideas of enrichment for our animals at the park. This week was the turn of our three cheeky Asian Short Clawed Otters!
Asian otters have amazing dexterity with their front paws, due to their short claws and only partial webbing.
In the wild they often use them to find their food by prodding around in holes or under rocks and stones. They also use them in the muddy waters of rice paddy fields.
If you have ever seen our otters at feeding time, you may have also noticed that they use their paws to carry their food around, rather than in their mouth like many other animals would do. Sometimes they can even be seen juggling with stones!
Along with our weekly delivery of fruit and vegetables we also found a cardboard box. As soon as we saw it we thought it would be perfect for our otters due to the small holes found along the sides, top and bottom.
We filled it full of hay and lots of tasty treats such as mince balls, pieces of rainbow trout, peanuts and some grapes and tomatoes.
The otters are extremely inquisitive and were soon putting their paws through the holes to rummage around and find the food.
Being very intelligent animals, they soon worked out how to open the box and eventually ended up sitting inside it!
Considering it came from such a simple item, the enrichment was a huge success and we had a great response from the visitors who were able to watch during the daily otter feed.