New River Otter exhibit coming to Tennessee Aquarium - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

New River Otter exhibit coming to Tennessee Aquarium

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A few of the North American River Otters  at the Tennessee Aquarium. A few of the North American River Otters at the Tennessee Aquarium.

Popular among visitors at the Tennessee Aquarium, the North American River Otters continue to be one of the Aquarium's top attractions.

Known for their agility and athleticism in and out of the water, the river otters' antics have been enjoyed by visitors for over 20 years.

"If you go through the Cove Forest and the otters are out scampering around and swimming, guests are delighted with the experience," said Jackson Andrews, the Aquarium's director of husbandry and operations. "It's still very nice strolling through that forest surrounded by a gorgeous variety of plants while enjoying the birds, fish and reptiles, but the impact is not the same if the otters are asleep.  A dramatic otter exhibit is something people have really wanted."
The Aquarium's new Cove Forest exhibit will triple that enjoyment.

Three times more otters: River otters are most active around sunrise and sunset, which are not optimal viewing times for guests. Four new otters will be added to the two that currently call the Aquarium home, enabling all six to rotate on and off exhibit in various groupings throughout the day. When one group is ready for a mid-day nap, another group will be ready to play and explore their new surroundings.
Three times more land: Otters are terrestrial animals that swim in the water. Guests will still be able to see the remarkable way these furry critters use their paws and tails to twist and turn underwater, but the redesigned space will give the otters more opportunities to lope along a multi-tiered landscape. Behind the scenes there will be more space to care for and train the otters.
Three times more viewing: When visitors enter the redesigned Cove Forest, they'll be drawn in by the expansive view of the new otter exhibit. It will stretch from where the stairs to the overlook are currently located to the waterfalls near the trout stream.
The Aquarium's otters are "on vacation" to meet their new Cove neighbors at another facility. The birds have been moved to other exhibits and the trout and other fish from the Cove are temporarily being held at the Aquarium's Animal Care Facility.
The new otter exhibit is scheduled to debut in the spring of 2014.

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