Otter Cam once again, is up and running on U-Tube.
You can follow the progress of this year’s group of orphaned River Otters in the otter pen, build last year with the help of SeaWorld Busch Gardens Conservation Fund and the donation of the pond by Pinch-a-Penny. This year a local artist has contributed a beautiful mural to the back wall. So be sure to watch the live stream and share in the fun at OTTER CAM
So where did we start this year? Well it began in February during Presidents week. First one, then two, no wait, make that three-four, then add the triplets and before we knew it we had seven hungry baby river otters to feed. Like Snow White, Kris was up for the task of tending to this rambunctious bevy of seven little otters. Help was needed to bottle feed them all at once. Jumping in, literally, experience volunteers soon signed up for the four times a day feeding schedule.
The first two babies were Abe and Snug. Abe, named after President Abraham Lincoln, was recused, stranded in the road, by Clearwater Marine Aquarium at three weeks old, who gave him a full checkup and a week later then brought him to us, so he could be raised with other Kits. It is thought that he just couldn’t make it over the curb and was separated from his mom and injured. We took him to the great team of vet’s, The Wildlife Doc’s, at Busch Gardens Tampa to assist in monitoring his healing process. Snug most likely just got lost and he was very dehydrated, so we got him stabilized and started on formula made especially for beavers and otters with a very high fat content. As baby season is February and March, we knew Abe and Snug would not be the only ones. They were joined by more orphaned kits including the triplets who were saved by the wonderful people at Action Honda in Hudson, Fl., and another found at Lowry Park. Before we knew it, there were seven.
To see Abe’s story by Clearwater Marine Aquarium, visit U-Tube at Abe the Otter Kit’s Rescue and Rehab Story
River Otters are one of the hardest mammals for rehabbers to raised, they can crash and die quickly so we are very pleased to have such a great success. Last year we raised and released 13 orphaned kits which feels like just yesterday as they stay with us until their release in late July or August. They start on formula, but they do not suckle like you might think, they chew on the nipples. Can’t you just image the love and patience of an otter mom. Once those canines start coming we must change the nipple every feeding. Soon they advance to supplementing their diet of formula with soft solids, exclusively Science Diet A/D. Then we add a variety of small freshwater fish like greenbacks and silver-sides until they are large enough to need full size fish. They are very active and have a high metabolism so as you can image, there is a great need for donations to help feed these cuties over the next several months.
They love to play and don’t start swimming until they are two months old at which time they leave the nursery for the outdoor enclosure. The otter pen allows them plenty of space to explore, play and swim with a bed of clay and mulch and a large pond with a filtration system to keep it fresh and clean. They also have a heated dog house to retreat to, to keep them warm through the cold spells. Over the next three months they will learn the skills and grow to the size needed to survive in the wild.
River otters are a water-loving member of the weasel family and an adult can weigh 15-30 pounds. They are adapted for both land and water with short legs, five webbed toes, and a strong, flattened tail used as a rudder when the swim. Their thick fur ranges from light to dark and acts as an insulated waterproofing helping to keep them warm. They are mostly nocturnal and feed on crustaceans, amphibians, reptiles, fish, birds, insects and small mammals and use their whiskers to find food in the mucky water.
This water-loving animal is found throughout Florida except the Keys. River otters usually prefer fresh water and can be found in rivers, creeks, lakes, ponds, and swamps. Otters live in burrows on the bank of the water body, often under tree roots. They are social animals, and groups usually consist of a female and her juvenile offspring. River otters are a valuable furbearer resource worldwide and play an important role in Florida’s ecosystems as a top predator in their habitats.
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While the SeaWorld Busch Gardens Conservation Fund paid for the construction of the Otter Pen in 2017, you can still use Go Fund Me to make donations to aide in their care and feeding at The Otters of Owl’s Nest
Purchases from our Otter exclusive Amazon “Wish List” can also be made through Amazon Owl’s Nest Otter Wish List
We also ask that you consider making a tax-deductible donation to Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife so that we may continue our work to conserve and protect all native wildlife in the Tampa Bay Area. We are a 501.3c non-profit meaning that we are funded strictly by donors. As all of our staff are volunteers we do not get paid for what we do and all our donations go toward supplies for the animals that need our care. We appreciate both monetary donations as well as supplies. You can use this link to our “How to Help” page where you can choose from Go fund Me, Paypal or our current wish list.
If you happen to find any wildlife in trouble, please report it to Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife, a Federally and State Permitted Rehabilitation Non-Profit Organization.
The fastest way to reach us is by texting (813) 598-5926 and we will dispatch a volunteer as soon as possible.