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North American River Otter

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Species: North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis)

Sex: Male

Diet: Capelin, Lake Smelt, and Feline Diet

Arrival Date: 11/19/2012

Estimated Age Upon Arrival: 1 – 1.5 Years

Walle's Tale:

Walle was rescued from the wild as a very young otter kit. The individual who rescued him raised him on their boat and thought that they were doing right by him by keeping him as a pet. As Walle continued to grow and develop his caretaker quickly recognized that caring for a juvenile otter was much more intense than a regular household pet. His caretaker had assumed that if Walle were placed back into the wild, he would resume life as a normal otter. But much to his caretaker's dismay, Walle returned to the boat. What his caretaker did not know at the time was that North American river otters must learn survival skills from their mothers and family group members. Walle's caretaker quickly realized that Walle would continue to return and they did not have the means to provide him with the best quality of life possible. Therefore it was decided that Walle would be transported to a rehabilitator in Gainesville, FL. Shortly after that, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium received a call from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission asking if Walle would be able to live out the rest of his life here at the aquarium with our other otters under the care of our training staff members.

Walle was transported to Homosassa State Park and was put under quarantine to be sure that he was not harboring any diseases or parasites that we were unaware of. During this period training staff members were sent to the park to familiarize themselves and begin building a relationship with Walle. It was determined that Walle did not possess any diseases or parasites and on November 19, 2012 Walle was transported to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

Walle took to his new environment well and began exploring immediately. Our training staff continues to work on training basics with Walle and he is progressing quickly. He is a very active and curious otter. During the month February, 2013, Walle was introduced to his new pal Cooper. They are getting along well and can often be found playing or snuggled up together.