Otters are playful and adorable. Or so states the human, who has pictures of these creatures playing and I suppose being cute. Have you ever wanted to touch one? This is not something one gets the opportunity to do everyday.
The Keikyu Aburatsubo Marine Park in Japan has a special exhibit set up for their otters called “Otter Finger Touch, Fish Catch.” Visitors pay 500 yen, or $5, to offer a fish at special holes in the glass enclosure to lure an otter to put a paw through to possibly touch your finger and to definitely get a fish.
The exhibit opened July 13, 2014, and only runs until September 13, 2014, so if interested you need to act quickly. Visitors are encouraged to make a reservation in order to guarantee an opportunity to try for an otter hand shake. The exhibit is open for all those who enter the park to see the otters, but the touch experience has a morning and evening session with a max of 10 people. I am not sure if it is 10 each session or ten total for the day. Of course, you need to be in Japan or able to travel there for this experience.
Some species of otters can be vicious, people are attacked by them, so I would not advocate just trying to offer fish to wild otters. The otters in the exhibit are Asian Small Clawed Otters, the smallest species, who have little finger like toes with small claws unlike the webbed feet of the larger North American River Otter. Asian Small Clawed Otters are a vulnerable species due to habitat loss, and are now extinct in some areas which used to have large populations. You can of course see this type of otter in the US at places like Seaworld and the San Diego Zoo, but no other place offers finger touches.
The National Zoo’s recent panda cub born in August has been confirmed female by a DNA test.
Mei Xiang is a good panda mother who still spends a lot of time in her den. As the cub gets a bit older she will start to leave more. So zoo staff are still mostly observing the cub, and will do more when they can.
Here are some great moments from the panda cam all put together: