Monday, May 23, 2011

Otter say aaaaaah!

Hi Sea Fans!

It's so funny, our trainer was in hysterics telling us a story about the otters this morning so I thought I just have to share...

We've been wanting to do a dental check on the otters for a while, but they just didn't want to let us near their mouths while awake so we realised the best way forward is to train the otters to say "Aaaah!" like we do.  (Okay, not quite say it but at least open their mouths for us when we ask them to).  It was a bit of a battle.  The trainer spent ages trying all sorts of things, including offering different types of food.  He was about to go back to the drawing board yesterday when he realised that all of the otters suddenly had their mouths open.  He wasn't sure at first what made them do it, but then he realised that he had just yawned and the hand that he used to cover his mouth to be polite, had crab legs in it.  It was more by accident than a planned thing, but sometimes this is how the animals show us what works.  Seeing that the otters reacted, he quickly gave them the crab legs.  To test the theory, he grabbed some more crab legs and yawned....before he could put his hand to his mouth, the otters were all "yawning" with him.  How handy!  Now we don't have to worry about stressing the animals out and all we have to do is pretend to yawn and the vet can check out their mouths and make sure that their teeth are healthy.

An Asian Small-clawed Otter.
So you see, what seems difficult at first may not be so difficult after all, you've just got to keep trying! (and be creative!)

Have a great week Sea Fans and chat soon.
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