river otter in front of pet crate looking over at you

Anang and the Big Crate

September 27, 2013

I often wonder, or worry, what would happen if there was an emergency here at Great Lakes Aquarium. What would we do with all of the animals, or how would we save them? The USDA wonders that too. They check up on us twice each year to make sure we are keeping things clean, keeping good records of events, and of course, they look at our mammals.

So, we have come up with an evacuation plan for our animals. Right now, I am training Anang, our resident female river otter, to go in a crate so I can close her in and carry her to safety. Well, it might take two of us! The crate is large enough for her to fit in, plus her long tail! 🙂

How does one go about crate training a North American River Otter? Firstly, they are very curious creatures. They love new things, especially something they can go inside of, like a den. Crates are fun! Once she was used to the crate, I began training. The goal is to get her to go in the crate and turn around (so her tail gets in there!). Then, I’ll close the door.

This is a work in progress. But, I will show you what we’ve done so far…

Anang is getting ready to start. (and obviously waiting for me to hurry up!)
 Anang just finished her first target at the lip of the crate. She is eating her treat (fish!). 
Halfway in!
Amost all the way in! 
Getting ready to turn around!

 Eating her reward!
And, this collage is the first day we tried it! She got it right away. 
The next thing we will work on is closing the door, then moving it around.
We have a daily Otter Program at 2pm, or 1:30 on Wednesdays, so come in and see Anang! I would love to answer any questions you have about her!