Two new North American river otters, Pee Dee and Rocky, arrived at their new home in the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.
The two male, 9-month-old otters are from a litter of otter pups born at Milwaukee County Zoo in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums Species Survival Plan Program.
Both Pee Dee and Rocky are named after North Carolina rivers and will share a space with Eno and Neuse, the aquarium’s current otters.
Staff will keep the two new otters separate from the older otters while they adjust to their new home and each other, aquarium otter deeper, Kristen Cook, said in a statement.
“We’ll have all of them in the same room behind the scenes, separated by plexiglass. They’ll get to hear, smell, and see each other, but won’t be able to interact with each other at first. Slowly the otters will be introduced to each other behind the scenes and then together in their public-facing habitat,” Cook added.
Otter introductions can take anywhere from one week to several months as the Aquarium animal care team follows certain steps during the process.
“The amount of time each step takes will depend on how our otters and the new kids react to one another. It’s difficult to say when exactly all four boys will be together.” Cook continued.
During the process, guests will initially see two otters at a time in the North American River Otter habitat, either Eno and Neuse together, or Pee Dee and Rocky together.
“Guests of the Aquarium are very familiar with our otters, Eno and Neuse. They’re some of the most popular animals and loved by staff and anyone who walks through the Aquarium,” said Liz Baird, aquarium director.