A TRIO of Canadian otters enjoyed the ultimate shellfish treat as part of a welcome party at the Blue Planet Aquarium, Ellesmere Port.
The otters have just gone on public view in a spacious outdoor display alongside the aquarium’s resident family of Asian short claw otters.
The zoological team’s decision to shell out on the luxury seafood delicacy wasn’t just a treat though.
The oysters, donated by the Loch Fyne restaurant in West Kirby, gave the otters the opportunity to use their natural foraging skills.
Otter specialist Katy Seward said: “We have provided the otters with a variety of different objects to play with in their enclosure as part of an ongoing environmental enrichment programme designed to keep them both mentally and physically active.
“As well as being a nutritious and obviously delicious meal the fact they have to manipulate the oysters and use their claws to prise open the shells also provides the otters with some excellent environmental enrichment.
“At first we had to open a couple but they soon got the idea and seemed to really enjoy them.”
It’s the first time Canadian otters, which can reach lengths of up to 1.3 metres, have gone on display at the Blue Planet and Katy is confident they’ll prove popular with visitors.
“They are highly intelligent, playful animals that often use stones or other objects as tools to crack open shells”, she said.
“Despite their large size they are also incredibly graceful swimmers and have even been seen ‘tobogganing’ down muddy or snowy slopes in the wild!”