The season for otter babies, called kits, here in Florida is November through March. After leaving the den, otter kits are vulnerable and can become endangered due to natural predators as well as human impact. Kits practicing independence from mom and exploring their environment alone can also often be confused for an injured or orphaned animal.
As for rescues, fortunately, this season has been relatively quiet compared to previous years. That said, Clearwater Marine Aquarium received its first patient, a kit named “Murray”, admitted to CMA’s marine mammal hospital and triage center on February 25, 2017. Murray received his name from our amazing sponsors at Ruth Eckerd Hall.
Murray the Otter Arrives at Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Upon arrival at CMA, the otter kit, “Murray,” was assessed by the veterinarian of record, Dr. Shelly Marquardt, DVM. Murray’s gender was confirmed male, which is not generally obvious to an untrained eye. Murray weighed in at 4.4 lbs.
During initial triage Murray’s respiration rate was observed to be within the normal limits of a young kit. Dr. Marquardt assessed the kit’s locomotive abilities and observed normal capabilities. As part of the physical checkup, the kit’s coat was examined, noting the growth of guard hairs and no signs of parasites. During examination of the oral cavity, six teeth were observed to be erupting from the gum line. Blood was collected from the ventral or bottom side of the tail to assess the animal’s glucose. The glucose was found to be a little low; therefore, Dr. Marquardt prescribed subcutaneous fluids.
During triage, little Murray fell asleep, burrowing into the staff biologist’s gloves. Given the information collected as part of his physical exam, Murray was considered to be in fairly stable condition!
Healthy Candidate for Release
Murray’s glucose was reassessed after each fluid treatment until it was within the desired range. After finalizing triage, Murray was deemed to be in good health and robust condition and an excellent candidate for release. Murray remained at CMA, receiving around-the-clock care, prior to being transferred to CROW in Sanibel.
CMA works collaboratively with other wildlife rescue operations in order to provide the best possible outcomes for patients. CROW had been rehabbing another otter kit that needed a companion for release. It was decided that Murray would be that companion and will remain at CROW for a period of a few months prior to release. We wish Murray the best!