AQUARIUM staff helped cool down a family of otters during last week’s hot weather – by serving up fish-flavoured ice lollies.
The frozen treats, each containing a mixture of shrimp and strips of fish, are part of an environmental enrichment programme for the Blue Planet Aquarium’s Asian short-claw otters.
The lollies serve a dual purpose of keeping the animals cool on sunny days and encouraging them to work harder for their food and utilise their natural hunting instincts.
Spokesman James Dale said: “We wanted to create a way of feeding them that meant they weren’t simply sitting around waiting for the food to arrive – the ice means they have to use their natural instincts just as they would in the wild to get to the food inside.
“Previously we’ve hidden the food around their enclosure so they have to go foraging for it and this seemed like the next step – they can see their ‘prey’ but they’ll have to use their claws and teeth to get to it.
“We’ve added the sticks as it gives them a non-slippy surface to hold on to while their wrestling with the lollies.”
In the past keepers have provided the otters with a variety of ‘play’ objects as part of the ongoing environmental enrichment programme.