Otter Falls is home to two North American river otters. One adult female, Jelly, and her son, Stark, born February 16, 2013.
Jelly and Stark are highly active and curious North American river otters (Lontra canadensis).These playful creatures will chase each other, jump, wrestle, slide on their bellies on snow and ice, and spend lots of time grooming.
Found throughout North America (but rarely on Long Island), North American river otters live not only in rivers, but also in lakes, freshwater wetlands, salt marshes, and estuaries. Jelly and Stark live in Otter Falls, a 1,500-square-foot exhibit named for its two waterfalls – a 12-foot main waterfall that greets guests as they approach the exhibit, and a 9-foot waterfall that cascades into the otters’ pool.
In addition to the two waterfalls, Otter Falls features:
- Two 8-foot viewing windows at the pool
- Three viewing windows into the riverbank area
- A 35-square-foot interactive Beaver Den that provides guests with a 3-foot underwater view into the pool
- A viewing window into Jelly & Stark's Day Den
Since they are not related to other otters in zoos and aquariums, Jelly & Stark will play a valuable role in helping to ensure the survival of their species through a program involving zoos and aquariums across the United States.
Otterly Fun Facts:
- Not just fur looks! An otter’s sleek coat is short, dense, soft to the touch – and waterproof! This distinctive fur helps keep otters warm and dry while swimming, but has unfortunately led to a decline in their population, as they are trapped for it.
- Feets of distinction! Otters’ webbed toes are not only designed for swimming, but also help otters maneuver quickly to catch their prey!
- Take a deep breath! Otters’ nostrils and ears close underwater, enabling otters to stay under for up to 8 minutes!
- Do you see what I see? Nearsighted on land, river otters have perfect vision underwater. When submerged, a clear eyelid called a nictating membrane protects their eyes.