North American River Otters | by Yara Delgado …..
Who doesn’t love otters (and otter puns)? They are one of the cutest animals on Earth! There are 13 species of otters that can be found all around the world but here in Florida we have one native, the beautiful North American River Otter.
The River Otter is ridiculously otterable. It has short legs, webbed toes and a flattened tail. In the wild it can live for about 16 years, reach 38-47 inches in length and weight about 10-20 pounds. They’re nocturnal animals which is why we rarely get to see them. They love fish and crayfish, and they enjoy living alongside the bed of a river by making their own burrow or stealing one from a beaver.
Otters mate between December and April and each litter can have 2 to 3 pups. It is no surprise for us to start each year with many orphaned otter rescues. We’re one of the main otter rehabilitation facilities in Central Florida, counting with a large pen and a 320 gallon pool. And this is particularly why we felt so grateful with last Christmas’ donation from Downtown Aquarium in Denver, CO, which allowed us to build a bigger pool and get new pumps just in time before mating season started.
Our first rescue of 2019 happened by the end of January. It was a little pup that was found in Polk County freezing cold and alone at approximately 1 ½ weeks old. We got it hydrated and warm, and gave it some milk before heading to The Wildlife Docs at Busch Gardens for a check up. He turned out to be a very healthy little boy with great possibilities of rehabilitation! Great news. We named him Lovie.
The second rescue happened mid-February. This time a beautiful shy little girl about 5 ½ weeks old that was abandoned by her mom in Lake Wales. Some good Samaritans took her in and went on the mission of finding a rehabber, and they found us! We took her to visit our awesome friends, The Wildlife Docs at Busch Gardens, and after getting her on the proper formula she started gaining weight and coming out of her shell. She was very shy in the beginning but with love and patience her personality started showing off and she demonstrated to be a perfectly healthy girl. We named her Ginger!
Third rescue was little Gilligan. A baby boy abandoned in Fish Hawk who was a little bit dehydrated when we got him but did great eating and after just a couple of days he was healthy and on the right path hanging out with Ginger.
Our fourth rescue was little Skipper. Another baby boy who almost died after mom left him freezing over a rock. With lots of love and help from his “adopted” siblings, he was also able to get on the right path, gaining weight and strength. We had a total of 4 babies getting ready for release!
Rehabilitating otters is not an easy task. They’re messy eaters and are very energetic at all times of the day, needless to say how cute they can be too and how attached you can get to such cuteness! But there’s nothing more gratifying for Owl’s Nest than raising a baby animal to be it’s natural wild self and seeing it triumph in its natural habitat. We were able to release all four otters back in June, if you find yourself visiting Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park keep an eye open for this otterly cute gang!
As always, we wish them a long healthy wild life!!
Huge thanks to all the volunteers who helped with these babies and who continue to give their 100% everyday for the good of wildlife. Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife is a non-profit organization who operates solely with volunteers and donations, and it takes a village of amazing people to reach successful rehabilitation stories like these ones.
If you’re interested in being part of these amazing stories, there are different things you could do to contribute. You could donate, become a sponsor or volunteer. You could also join one of our adoption programs in which you symbolically adopt one of our local animals for $20 + shipping (a river otter, fox, owl or bobcat) and receive a Plush, Adoption Certificate and a Fact Sheet about the animal in return. A perfect option for kids who are too young to volunteer but are passionate about wildlife rescue, rehab and release, and would like to help educating people about it.
Just in case you can’t get enough of our little crew: Gilligan, Skipper, Ginger and Lovie ….. here are more links to more cute photos of our 2019 Otters
And … video of … Discovering Water
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.
There are several ways you can be a part of caring for our injured and orphaned wildlife. As a non-profit, monetary donations and supplies are always appreciated. 100% of all gifts go directly to animal care.
Enjoy wildlife, make sure to sign up for our Blog/Newsletter and to stay up to date on our cases, you can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube Channel. You can also tune into Live Cams, check our web page to see when one is in operation.