Otter-ly adorable! Utica Zoo announces the arrival of two new animals
There's a new exhibit at the Utica Zoo! If you love cute, charismatic animals, then you'll love meeting Lily and Briar, two North American river otters.
Guests can now visit Lily and Briar where the old Sea Lion habitat used to be.
The ladies are getting used to their new surroundings and, based on the photos Utica Zoo shared to Facebook, they are enjoying their new home.
The zoo revealed on Facebook that it cost under $200,000 to construct their newest attraction, which was "largely funded by First Source Federal Credit Union and private donors."
"The living space of water and land mass actually required a full reversal; while the sea lions needed a larger and deeper water area with less ‘coastal space’ the otters require more land made up of a variety of materials such as rocks, tree limbs to burrow, substrate and more."
The den area also got a complete makeover so that Lily and Briar feel even more at home in Central New York.
A little more about the otters
The zoo has already created a new webpage so visitors can learn everything they can about Lily and Briar.
North American river otters are found throughout the country's coasts and waterways. Fun fact, these animals can swim up to 7 miles-per-hour and can hold their breath up to 8 minutes!
"They are adept navigators in the water as well as on land and can transition from one to the other with ease. This is thanks in part to their webbed paws for swimming and walking as well as their water-repellent fur."
These otters have a diverse diet and enjoy snacking on fish, turtles, small mammals and amphibians.
Personality-wise, otters are known to be energetic and playful. It appears Lily and Briar are no different, based on the hilarious and adorable photos the zoo shared in its Facebook announcement.
And another cool fact, North American river otters are the largest member of the weasel family. They also have 36 teeth and their jaws are powerful enough to crush shells -- and even some bones!
Where you can find the otters
Lily and Briar have taken up residence where the old sea lion habitat was, which is within the Backyards & Barnyards section of the zoo.
Regular admission rates apply, with children under 1 getting in for free and special discounts for students, seniors and members of the military.
For more information, visit the Utica Zoo's website.