Monday, July 22, 2024

Fort Fisher otter pups ready to make their public debut

N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher otter keeper Shannon Anderson checks on one of the three-month-old otter pups. (Courtesy/NCAFF)

KURE BEACH — The three Asian small-clawed otter pups born in May at the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher have reached important milestones, marking their readiness to enter the public habitat.

The three-month-old females have begun exploring public waters and eating solid foods. As a result, aquarium staff is “baby proofing” the Otters on the Edge habitat for the pups to make their debut Thursday at 9 a.m.

READ MORE: Tala, Reyna, Ula? Fort Fisher’s 3-month-old otter pups need names, public can decide

“We’re excited for them to test the waters to find out if they are ready to explore their home in Otters on the Edge,” NCAFF otter keeper Shannon Anderson said in a press release. “These pups have come a long way since being small and fragile when they were born. The aquarium team is looking forward to sharing them through the public habitat as soon as they are ready to emerge and spend time there.”

Through the adaptation phase, attentive parents Lei and Quincy have been teaching their offspring the needed skills. Father, Quincy, has been introducing the pups to water in a shallow tub behind-the-scenes. He also began sharing his clams, shrimp and smelt with them.

“It has been heartening to receive so much incredible support and love for the otter pups from visitors, the community, and our staff,” NCAFF director Hap Fatzinger said in the release. “We’re all counting down the days to when they will emerge, and visitors can share in the excitement of seeing them in the habitat.”

Fatzinger pointed out, it’s not a certainty they will make an appearance. It depends on if they feel ready and if their protective parents allow them to, the release states.

Tickets to the aquarium, located at 900 Loggerhead Road in Kure Beach, must be purchased in advance online due to the busy season.

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