Furry sea otter gets the winter taste

CHICAGO, USA – A new video of otters playing and jumping around in the piles of snow, some even tasting the winter treat was released by the Shedd Aquarium, Chicago.

Luna, a sea otter, featuring in the video amazes the audience. It was rescued back in 2014 by the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. Then it was brought to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago as a baby.

Otters, members of the weasel family, are found on every continent, except Australia and Antarctica. Most of them are small, with short ears and noses, elongated bodies, long tails, and soft, dense fur. Such pretty creatures are seen enjoying a nibble of fresh snow after a blizzard in Chicago.

The video was filmed at the indoor public aquarium Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, Illinois, in the United States. Later, the footage was shared on the park’s YouTube channel on Jan 28.

The Shedd Aquarium was established on May 30, 1930. The aquarium was for some time the largest indoor facility in the world. Presently, it holds around 32,000 animals. It is home to sea otters and seahorses, beluga whales and bluegills, reef sharks, stingrays, lake sturgeons, and Pacific white-sided dolphins. It encompasses the Great Lakes and serves as a shelter to endangered aquatic animals and ecosystems around the world.

“Providing different enrichment is a regular part of sea otter care at Shedd. The seasonal weather provides the otters with variety and new items to explore, taste, and feel to change up their day,” said Kayley Ciocci, the coordinator of public relations and communications at the Shedd Aquarium.

The aquarium team constantly addresses new elements to otters’ habitat, which encourage mental stimulation and physical exercise for the animals, she said.

“It is of utmost importance to keep the otters’ everyday activities varied and fun. The caregivers often use ice cubes, carwash strips, and hollow balls and similar others stuff to intrigue these animals,” she said. Otters generally like to keep themselves cool and hydrated in the summer heat, resulting in the eating of ice cubes.

North American sea otters are the recent ones to hit the stories after they were brought close to extinction in the 19th century, who were widely hunted for fur. This practice was stopped by the establishment of the International Fur Seal Treaty in 1911. However, populations in Canada and California are now doing well.

“Sea otters have the densest fur among all other animals, up to one million hair per square inch to manage the cold temperatures in the Pacific Ocean,” said Ciocci. Otters are covered with a waterproof top layer and a short underlayer. This makes up for its lack of blubber in the cold Pacific Ocean.

The Shedd Aquarium announced that they are now ready to open for those visitors who want to meet and greet the otters. They can also meet other animals at their Abbott Oceanarium, including beluga whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, and sea lions.

(Edited by Bornika Das and Shirish Vishnu Shinde)

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