A group of people in bright orange coast guard jumps suits lean over the side of a ship to release a sea turtle.



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Two New Otters At the Aquarium

Two North American River Otters Arrive at NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

Staff Welcomes Two Otter Brothers, Pee Dee and Rocky

Pine Knoll Shores, N.C. — Two new North American river otters, Pee Dee and Rocky, will add additional adorable antics to the North American River Otter habitat at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. 

The two, 9-month-old otters, both male, come from a litter of otter pups born at Milwaukee County Zoo in Milwaukee, WI as part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan®(SSP) Program. Their mother and a sister are both still at Milwaukee County Zoo.

Both Pee Dee and Rocky are named after North Carolina rivers and will share a space with the Aquarium’s current otters, Eno and Neuse, also both males. Aquarium Otter Keeper Kristen Cook said staff will keep the two new otters separate from the older otters while they adjust to their new home and each other.

“We’ll have all of them in the same room behind the scenes, separated by plexiglass. They’ll get to hear, smell, and see each other, but won’t be able to interact with each other at first. Slowly the otters will be introduced to each other behind the scenes and then together in their public-facing habitat,” said Cook. 

Otter introductions can take anywhere from one week to several months as the Aquarium animal care team follows certain steps during the process.

The first phase of introductions will be auditory and olfactory, the second will be visual introductions, third is shared space with limited tactile contact, and the fourth phase is physical introduction.

“The amount of time each step takes will depend on how our otters and the new kids react to one another. It’s difficult to say when exactly all four boys will be together.” said Cook.

During the process, visitors will be able to see the new otters, Pee Dee and Rocky occasionally.  Guests will initially see two otters at a time in the North American River Otter habitat – Eno and Neuse together, and Pee Dee and Rocky together.

“Guests of the Aquarium are very familiar with our otters, Eno and Neuse. They’re some of the most popular animals and loved by staff and anyone who walks through the Aquarium,” said Liz Baird, Aquarium Director.

“We're thrilled that our older otters will have two new otter brothers to add to their romp, which is the name for a group of otters. Our otters help us tell the conservation stories of other otter species that are more threatened than river otters,” said Baird.  

North American river otters can be found across most of North America and Canada, except in some southwest areas and Mexico. They are semi-aquatic and spend time on land and in the water. Female otters mostly live alone, while male otters live in small social groups like the one at the Aquarium. 

Read more about the romp of otters at the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores by visiting the website. Our guests can catch their antics and playfulness on the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Posted by Shannon Kemp at 10:25