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   HOME > They otter have names > Name the otters details


They’re cute, they’re cuddly and they need names. The Tennessee Aquarium wants you to help name our three male North American river otters.

  • Submit your creative name suggestions now. (Please include three otter names and a way to contact you in case your entry is chosen.) Or register at the Aquarium gift shop in the River Journey building. Your e-mail address will never be sold or released.

  • If your names are chosen, you’ll win a deluxe Aquarium gift basket and and a chance to go behind-the-scenes with the Aquarium otter keeper!

  • All entries must be received by Saturday, Dec. 10. The winning names will be announced Dec. 12.

Below are some otter facts to help you with your entry:

Otter 1 has been at the Aquarium since the original River Journey building opened in 1992. Like other otters, he enjoys eating fish, crayfish and aquatic invertebrates. A graceful swimmer, he walks with an awkward humpbacked gait when on land.

Otter 2 recently came to the Tennessee Aquarium from the Pittsburgh Zoo. He is a terrific swimmer (like all otters). When swimming on the surface, you’ll see him doggy paddling, but under the water he becomes quite graceful and swims with his entire body.

Otter 3 also hails from the Pittsburgh Zoo and came to the Aquarium with Otter 2. One of the first things you might notice about this otter (as well as all other otters) is his thick, sleek coat of fur. This coat is made up of two types of hair and helps keep him warm and dry in cold mountain streams.

Superior Swimmers
Otters 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.

What’s for dinner?
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.

Otter facts:
   • Common name: North American river otter
   • Scientific name: Lutra canadensis
   • These animals are found in streams, lake borders, swamps and rivers of       North, Central and South America.
   • In the wild, they eat fish, frogs, crayfish, other aquatic invertebrates, small    turtles and turtle eggs, as well as snakes.
   • At the Aquarium, they can be found in the Appalachian Cove Forest             exhibit on level four of the River Journey building.

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