who is originally from Chattanooga and is a charter member of
the Aquarium, submitted several
entries to the contest, but said the winning entry was her favorite.
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Dec. 12, 2005) – The Tennessee
Aquarium’s three male North American river otters
are nameless no longer. The amusing otters will now
be known as Everett, Pete
and Delmar – in honor of the
three hapless heroes of the hit movie, “Oh Brother,
Where Art Thou?” The winning names were submitted
by Jean Hoffman of Brentwood, Tennessee.
“My family and I love the otters and I just couldn’t
believe that they didn’t have names,” she said.
“I started thinking in threes and suddenly remembered
those characters from ‘Oh, Brother.’ I love that
movie and the characters seemed to be such a good fit.”
names also met the requirements of the Aquarium otter keeper,
Jillian McCarty, who asked that the names each have a distinct
important that the otters are able to distinguish one name
from the other so that they can learn when to respond,”
the otters will help McCarty work with the animals during
training and enrichment activities.
naming contest kicked off on Nov. 15 and members of the public
could submit otter name suggestions via the Aquarium’s
Web site (www.tnaqua.org) or at the Aquarium gift shop in
the River Journey building. More than 1,000 entries were received.
The most popular entry was “Larry, Moe and Curly,”
with nearly 200 people submitting those names. As the winner
of the naming contest, Hoffman will receive an Aquarium gift
basket and a behind-the-scenes tour with the Aquarium otter
otter, now known as Everett, has been at the Aquarium since
its opening in 1992. The two new otters, Delmar and Pete,
were recently brought from the Pittsburgh Zoo and added to
“They seem to get along pretty well,” said Rico
Walder, assistant curator of forests. “We introduced
them to each other very slowly and now they seem pretty happy
to share the exhibit.”
training does not mean these animals will be jumping through
hoops or balancing beach balls on their noses. The training
and enrichment program is designed to provide a daily routine
of activities that will encourage the animals to be more active
during daylight hours. The training program also helps make
routine medical exams and assessments easier and simplifies
the process of moving the animals into holding areas during
routine exhibit maintenance.
their training is complete, the otters will respond to gestures,
spoken words and will execute certain behaviors on command,”
McCarty said. “They are also taught to touch their noses
to the end of a dowel, or target, to receive a reward. By
target training them, we will be able to get them to roll
over, stand on a scale or display their paws. This helps us
get a complete assessment of their general health.”
Aquarium, the river otters can be seen swimming in a boulder-filled
pool surrounded by rhododendron, mountain laurel and wildflowers.
are well-designed for swimming and living in cold mountain
streams. A member of the weasel family, an otter has an elongated
body, short legs, webbed feet and a long stout tail. Out of
the water it walks with an awkward humpbacked gait, sometimes
belly-sliding down muddy or snow-covered hills. On the surface
of the water it dog paddles, but underwater the otter swims
with its entire body, pushing with its webbed feet and steering
with its long tail. Its thick, sleek coat, which keeps it
dry and warm, is made up of two types of hair. The longer
outer hairs, called guard hairs, are water repellent.
Unlike other species of otter (like well-known sea otter),
North American river otters catch prey with their mouths,
not their hands. Although otters are quick swimmers, their
skill is better shown in their ability to maneuver rapidly,
which helps them chase down prey.
Aquarium inspires wonder and appreciation for the natural
world. Admission for both Aquarium buildings is $17.95 per
adult and $9.50 per child, ages 3-12. Each ticket purchased
helps support Aquarium conservation programs. The IMAX®
3D Theater is next door to the Aquarium. Ticket prices are
$7.95 per adult and $5.50 per child. Aquarium/IMAX combo tickets
are $21.95 for adults and $12.50 for children. Advance tickets
may be purchased online at www.tnaqua.org or by phone at 1-800-262-0695.
The Aquarium, located on the banks of the Tennessee River
in Chattanooga, is a non-profit organization. Open every day
except Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Aquarium and IMAX are
accessible to people with disabilities. Members enjoy unlimited
visits and other benefits. Call 267-FISH to join.
press kits & downloadable images: http://www.tnaqua.org/Newsroom/Newsroom.asp