At 16 weeks, Kit continues to delight and amuse staff and visitors alike. Check out her recent St. Patrick's Day frolics, if you haven't already seen the video.
Daily feeding and training sessions continue. She's getting to know her name, and is associating being close to the deck as a good place to be if you want food thrown onto your belly-table. This is known as stationing. Right now, she's mostly following a visual cue for this. Later this will be paired with her name and the word "station."
She's also learning the command to go into our off-exhibit holding pool area. This is a place where our otters can have live food. It's also a safe place to hold them while maintenance divers are in the exhibit for house cleaning and other chores that the otters won't take care of! We never dive with our sea otters. If you've seen their teeth, or checked out their list of relatives (wolverines, weasels, etc.), you'll understand why!
This is pretty much the extent of our interactions with her at this point. Plenty for a young developing brain to work with. Most of her schooling really comes from her companion Mae, through mimicking her behavior.
One such behavior she's learning is the pounding motion sea otters use to break open invertebrate shells. Although at this point, young Kit is really just waving her arms around -- but that's progress too, as she's just getting her coordination together and use of fine motor skills.
Other things she's learned from Mae (somewhat less critical to survival) are sleeping with one paw in your mouth, the appropriate resting position for ice crunching and balancing on top of plastic buckets!
This is not to say that Kit is becoming a clone of Mae. Quite the contrary. She has a quite distinct and different personality from her mentor and certainly will complain quite vocally when Mae decides it's time to leave the holding pool and Kit wants to stay!
Kit's getting much more curious and eager to try out new enrichment items. She's getting much more comfortable with the two-legged items that deliver them too -- and is starting to see their arrival as the prelude to something edible, fun or interesting.
It's certainly never a dull day in the sea otter exhibit. Do stop by or check out the web cam soon!