Since it was constructed in the early 1990s, the North American River Otter exhibit at Kaleideum North has remained one of the Museum’s most popular exhibits. Visitors of all ages enjoy watching the animals swim and play through the large glass windows above and below the water’s surface. River Otters are highly social animals, so when Mollie, the original female otter, passed away of old age more than three years ago, the Museum’s animal curator staff began an active search for a companion for Otto, the remaining male otter.

“It isn’t as though we could – or would – just take an otter from the wild,” said Kevin Caesar, Kaleideum’s Natural Science Coordinator. “We were waiting to find an injured or orphaned otter that was unable to survive outside of captivity.”

The wait ended a few months ago when Kaleideum staff were notified by wildlife officials in Whispering Pines, NC, that an orphaned otter had been rescued and was in need of a permanent home. The baby female, estimated to be about 8 weeks old, required extensive care, so curators arrived early in the morning and stayed late at night to feed her special formula provided by the North Carolina Zoological Park. She gained strength and grew quickly and was finally able to be introduced to Otto in October. The pair got along “swimmingly,” so the new addition, who has already reached adult size, made her public debut on Friday, November 23, at a special “Otter Encounter.”

The female otter has not yet been named, holding a Name the Otter Contest. Meanwhile, she is enjoying her new home and honing her swimming skills. “In this season of thanksgiving, we are grateful that Otto finally has a companion,” said Kaleideum Executive Director Elizabeth Dampier, “but we are equally as thankful to have members and visitors who are so supportive of our facility, staff, and the work that we do to inspire learning in our community.”

Name the Otter

Thank you for your submissions! Our new otter’s name is OLIVE! Please come see her soon!