Otters in Zoos
Otters seem to do extremely well in captivity and they are simple enough to care for. There are three main reasons that they are found in such locations. First, this helps with educating the public about them. People love to see the Otters and their playful activities. It helps to bring them to life instead of just being something they see on TV or read about in books.
Second, it helps with those that have been injured. They would die in the wild but with the help of proper medical care they can survive. For those that can’t return to the wild it is a way for them to continue having a good quality of life. Some pups are left of fend for themselves due to the death of their mother. In captivity they can get the milk they need to grow until they are old enough to hunt on their own.
Finally, Otters in captivity give researchers the chance to carefully watch them and to observe their behaviors. A great deal of information has been learned about them this way. They respond well to humans while in captivity too which means they really aren’t a threat to people that are around to care for them.
When Otters are in captivity the goal is to offer them a safe environment where they can be happy. There are many laws and guidelines that have to be followed in order to ensure they are always well cared for. There are inspectors that routinely pop in to see what is going on. The public also has the right to file a complaint if they feel that the Otters aren’t getting their needs met.
There are several locations where you can view Otters in captivity. The most common one is at the zoo. All of the otter species should have a habitat that allows them to move from land to the water. You can usually observe feeding times at the zoos too which is fun.
Other great locations are where aquatic life is on display. This can be at large aquariums or entities such as Sea World. There you will find the Otters out where they can perform for you an array of tricks. They haven’t learned them from humans though as the same tricks are performed by them in the wild.
One of the biggest problems with keeping Otters safe in captivity is the quality of the water. If there is too much bacteria found in it they will die. It doesn’t take long for large numbers of them to be killed off this way. Even a build up of urine and feces in the water from the Otters can result in it. Therefore constant cleaning of their environment is very important.
Due to the low numbers of some species of Otters, there are sanctuaries out there where injured Otters are taken. Their situation will be assessed and they are given the care that they need to survive. If it is possible they will be returned to the wild after they make a full recovery. Otherwise they will remain in captivity for the remainder of their lives because they would surely die out there on their own.
Many Otters do have a very long life in captivity though. In the wild the average life is about 12-15 years. However, in captivity some of them have lived as long as 20-25 years. Their bodies don’t age as rapidly when they don’t have to find their own food or when they don’t have to fend off predators.