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Animals Up Close: River Otter

WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) - Every Tuesday this July 7News will be giving you an up-close look at the animals at the Oglebay Good Zoo. 

A group of local children who won our "Animals Up Close" contest went inside the exhibits to learn more about the zoo's animals, starting with the North American river otter. 

Meet Paso and Catori are two sisters who aren't only smart, but quick playful and a little ornery. 

 "Catori is a little motherly to Paso. She'll hand her fish off to her sister every once in a while," said Mindi White, Curator of Animals at the Oglebay Good Zoo. 

While Braydn made snagging one of their four meals a day easy, it's a little harder for these girls to catch some grub in the wild. 

"They have to go down really deep sometimes to get what they like to eat," White explained. "They like to eat fish mainly, but they'll eat the mussels that are in the rivers. They'll eat the crayfish that are in the bottom."

"We threw fish out into the water and they would dive after them," said Braydn Ruckman, who won the Animals Up Close encounter. "They can hold their breath up to 8 minutes."

Paso and Catori can tolerate all climates of the Ohio Valley, and believe it or not they love winter! 

They can navigate the water, and even the ice so well because of their feet. 

"Their feet are completely webbed front and back," White said. "It helps them with the terrain. It helps them walk on the mud and the ice and anything else they're running on. It also helps them when they're swimming."

 "It was pretty cool," Braydn said of the experience 

You can visit Paso, Catori and more than 50 other species at the Oglebay Good Zoo.

It's open Monday through Friday from 10 to 5, and 10 to 6 on weekends. 

You can also schedule an up-close encounter with up to three animals by calling 304-243-4100. 


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