Joe the Icicle

January 11, 2011 at 2:59 pm Leave a comment

While you’re at home sipping hot chocolate on this cold, icy day, don’t forget to toast our aquarists at the Nature Center.  The cold temperatures don’t stop the work of cleaning the tanks, including the otter exhibit which boasts water temperatures at 62 degrees or lower.  Brrrrr!  The otters’ fur is so thick that water doesn’t touch their skin, but the aquarists have to wear thick wet suits that trap a thin layer of water between their skin and the neoprene outfit.  While the initial plunge is icy, it becomes more tolerable as the aquarists work hard and their activity increases the temperature inside the suit.  When Joe Neel was in the tank this December, the animal keepers used the opportunity to put snowballs in the exhibit for the otters to play with after everything was cleaned. The otters love to see people in the winter and you can get a great view of them (from the warm side of the glass) in the Nature Center, so don’t forget to stop by early and often in the New Year!

Joe takes the plunge into the cold otter tank.


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Buz Bireline, Director of Habitats & the Nature Center at Maymont

Buz Bireline

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