Wednesday, November 04, 2009

We Otter Detour Here........

Yes, I know...that was bad...really bad. I can hear you groaning all the way from there. But we needed to take a quick jump back to the near past, as I thought we might wrap up our otter adventures for this year.

They came in so long ago, some of them all the way back in April!!!

They were so teeny tiny when they came in. The first group was so small that their eyes were still shut!

They quickly grew, however, and went from being bottle-fed and then going comatose.... the weaning stage...

...where you desperately try to teach them that what's in the bowl is to be eaten, not played in!! Needless to say, there were quite a few baths given at this stage.

They also started getting to go out for swims in a tub.

This was the highlight of their day!! They had started to eat solid food by this point and they definitely weren't looking or acting like babies anymore.

It wasn't long after that, after the Wet Pen was vacated of its current resident, that they were moved outside.

They got used to more space and had a deeper pool to swim in. Oh yeah, and the slide. Can't forget about the slide!

Part of getting them ready to go back into the wild is helping them with food choices. So, we decided to introduce them to a food source that we thought, when they saw it, they should be able to identify as food. So out came the crabs!

We weren't so cruel as to give them live
Dungeness crabs, as we didn't want to set them up for failure right from the start. And it's a good thing, too, as they were totally baffled by this alien being!

A few got brave and gave it the once over.....

...while one just viewed things from afar...

...until it was deemed safe enough to come in for a closer look.

We ended up having to break a leg off so they could figure out that yes, there was something edible under that tough exterior.

Once we did that, the crab was up for grabs, with it being drug into the pool...

...then back out again...

...and then back in again... get the idea!

Then, a few weeks ago, it was finally time to let them go and have at it on their own
. A really nice volunteer, Chad Foley , took us by boat to a secluded area, away from any houses, where there was suitable places for them to hole up and find food. Thanks for the help Chad!!

One never knows if they stay there, but at least we know they were dropped off in a good location. They were released from their carriers...

...and the exploring began!

And then comes the first dip into salt water!

And then they are swimming!

It's always at this stage, and I wonder the same thing with the seals, if the salt water initially bothers their eyes, as they have been in fresh water up until then.

This guy swam back to shore and looked at us, just like little kids are wont to do, with that "Did ya see me?! Did ya see me swimmin'?!!!" air about him.

The time had come to say goodbye. I picked up some garbage off of that little beach and then hopped back into the boat with the others and we left them to continue exploring their wonderful new surroundings.

They otter be just fine! Sorry...I just couldn't resist!!! Til next time...


Shannon said...

Interesting that they have to be taught how to eat a crab! I would've thought that was instinctual.

Penny said...

It was interesting when we gave them semi live ones. they knew just what to do since they have seen the dead ones a few times. One did take a little pinch to the nose but hey that is what they need to learn. Great post Heather.

Chelsea said...

It is so great to see the picture show of the otters growing up and entering the wild. Thanks for sharing!