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Giant otter eating

If you’ve visited the Zoo, you’ve likely met a lot of our more than 900 animal residents. Some animals are easy to spot, but others are often not as easy to see because of their habitat set up, their personalities or their sleep cycles among other things. We wanted to start a “Meet the Animals” section of our blog to introduce you to some of the residents that you may (or may not have) met yet!   

Want to support our magical otter duo? Visit BrevardZoo.org/Harry-Otter to learn more! 

Since 2019, we have been otter-ly amazed by our two giant otters, Felix and Ophelia.  

These two siblings, both born at a fellow zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, have been living together at our Zoo for the past few years, and they have quickly become a favorite among Zoo-goers and keepers alike. They can often be heard vocalizing to each other, from soft coos and hums to loud screams for food. 

“Making about 20 different sounds, otter groups in the wild will have their own distinctive noises to tell each other apart. If you listen closely, they will make several quiet sounds when communicating with each other. They will also sometimes make a chuffing noise at things they aren’t fond of.” said Assistant Curator of Animals, Sidnee Santana-Mellor. 

Two giant otters swimming together

Can you tell these two apart?

You can tell the pair apart by the unique markings on their chests. All otters have unique markings in this location, and no two are the same. Felix’s mark looks like an hourglass, while Ophelia has a circle on her neck.   

Felix is known to be the more adventurous out of the two. He is outgoing and always the first to explore new objects. However, Ophelia is always following closely behind her br-otter. While they have different personalities, these two get along great and can be observed playing together and grooming each other. They will even use each other as pillows when napping, noted Sidnee. 

You can usually observe these curious critters swimming around or sleeping on one of the many comfy surfaces throughout their habitat.   

“When they aren’t doing those two things, they like to let keepers know they’re hungry by screaming at us,” endearingly noted Sidnee.  

Being strictly piscivorous, these two are served a diverse diet of fish daily. They are offered trout, tilapia, and catfish, with the latter being their favorite.   

“They have a biteforce strong enough to crush and consume a catfish head!” said Sidnee.   

Both Felix and Ophelia enjoy different types of enrichment, particularly objects that can float alongside them in the water, including floating barrels and balls. And being particularly food motivated, an ice treat with frozen fish inside is quite captivating for them.   

These two also participate in daily training with their keepers. They have learned target training and important medical training, such as voluntary injections.  

If you’d like your best chance at seeing the otters active in their habitat, stop by first thing in the morning or hang around until the late afternoon. You don’t want to miss the chance to observe the world’s largest species of otter right here in our Rainforest Revealed loop. 

Brevard Zoo is an independent, not-for-profit organization that receives no recurring government funding for our operating costs. Your generous support enables us to continue to serve our community and continue our vital animal wellness, education and conservation programs.