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.
Here are pictures from reporter Meru Rinko‘s trip to the exhibit:
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.
Baby Asian Small Clawed Otters:
This is a very unique opportunity for otter lovers, so take advantage of it if you can!
You can read more here to get details of when/where/how and see even more photos of that reporter’s trip here.