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Wildtracks: Conservation, Research and Education

Wildtracks blog


Missy III - The Revenge of the Otter (Hugo)

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So, here’s a little catch-up of the story so far:

Missy has defied containment attempts again and again, each time by breaking out with originality only Morgan Freeman could ever narrate. Her escapology has amazed all who have been around her: tens of meters of tying wire has been dedicated to the task of keeping her in, roll after roll of chicken wire has fortified and then refortified a structure that was already highly secure, cement ‘Hannibal Lecter’ cages have had to have been (temporarily) utilised to prevent this most friendly and adorable of creatures creeping into Keiley and Si’s bed at night, just in search of a little human contact. Blogs, curses, and steaming tempers have all been devoted to Missy “Houdini” Otterface… So as you might have guessed we were all pretty hopeful that someday, a plan would come that might slam the lid shut on Pandora’s box and keep Missy – for her own good – in her enclosure.

Ladies and gentlemen I can say that such a day has come.

Missy is now the proud owner of the most painstakingly constructed enclosure at Wildtracks, complete with shiny new chicken wire roof and swanky new food hatch. I am also extremely happy to say that there has not been an escape in two weeks! Missy is now safe in her run, protected from the risks inherent to forested areas known to contain large carnivorous animals and a sadly prevalent pet industry.

So now the challenge of preventing Missy’s escape has been overcome (touch wood), the question remains what further steps exist on the path to rehabilitation and eventual release.

Well unfortunately, we’re now back to the old question of how much feed Missy needs. Scientific papers state that a captive adult North American otter (unfortunately there is very little information for Neotropical otters so I have to use this data as a proxy) should eat between 10 and 15% of their body weight in food per day (as a matter of interest wild otters usually eat between 15% to 20% of their body weight per day). However, Missy is only 7 months old, and as far as I can find no information exists for how much she should be eating. So through a process of trial and error over the last month I have accidentally managed to get Missy quite chubby. As a result her food quota has been dropped from 500g/day to 375g/day, but I shall keep you up to date Dear Readers.

In an attempt to further reduce Missy’s belly we have stepped up her exercise regime, which has given me the opportunity to do something truly amazing: swim with her. Every day, Missy and I dive into the lagoon for 30 minutes or so and have a little paddle together and I can honestly say it is one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. Watching her explore the mangroves and feeling her dance around my feet and legs is something that’s difficult to describe but (as a proud parent) fills me with hope for the future and for upcoming release efforts. I consider myself extremely lucky to have had this experience and am looking forward to future swims with my little weaselly friend.

Buenos dias people.

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Published by: Zoe Walker at 2013-04-28 10:29:58   [Link to this article]


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