You “otter” see these guys
Take a tip from Pungo, Neuse and Eno – life is fun. The Aquarium’s river otters belong to a species known for enjoying a good time throughout adulthood, and this trio is no exception. All three are named after North Carolina rivers – Neuse, Pungo and Eno. Neuse and Pungo came to the Aquarium when they were about a year old in 2006.
Eno was brought to the Aquarium at four weeks old in April 2008, after his mother was killed by a car near White Lake. Aquarists bottle-fed him until he could trade formula for fish and other solid food, and helped him learn to swim. Now he’s strong, healthy, energetic and playful.
You’re likely to catch the three amusing themselves anytime they are out and about in their spacious habitat. They enjoy swimming, diving and three-way underwater wrestling. Watch the schedule for exercise and “enrichment” sessions. In the absence of daily challenges they might face in the wild, some little surprises keep the clever young males on their webbed toes.
“We’ll put things out for them to explore and play with – branches, tree stumps, pine straw,” says Meredith Owens, the Aquarist in charge of otter care. “It helps re-create the complexity of their natural environment, and that helps encourage natural behavior.”
River otters exemplify successful conservation. They had nearly vanished from North Carolina but now inhabit all 100 counties.
River otters can stay underwater for several minutes without breathing. Their waterproof fur, streamlined bodies, webbed feet and long tails propel them through the water as fast as some of us humans can run.