The North American River Otters are the largest semi-aquatic predator in the state of Tennessee. They’ve been hunted for their water-proof pelts since the 1700’s, and were much desired during the time of the French fur trade. By 1958, changes in their habitats, and other factors led to the disappearance of the North American River Otters in Middle and East Tennessee. For thirty years, sighting of river otters were few and far in-between, and they were then added to the endangered species in the state. It’s incredible to think that the river otters were almost completely wiped out.
In 1984 the future of the species started to look brighter when the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency introduced their otter restoration project. With continuing conservation efforts, TWRA released river otters into the waterways over a ten year period. The result was the return of a thriving river otter population in the wild, and they were able to remove them from the endangered species list.
Thanks to the Tennessee Aquarium, we can get up close with these shy critters, which are hard to spot in the wild. It’s funny to watch as they wrestle around with each other. And, you catch these aquatic acrobats in action with the Tennessee Aquarium’s Otter Cam. Watch closely and you’ll see these otters playing a game of hide-and-smell when they mark their favorite locations, and discover the treats and new scents left by the Aquarium staff.
Get ready to laugh as these intelligent river otters climb, jump and wrestle their way into your heart.
The Tennessee Aquarium is filled with engaging experiences to explore in two structures along Chattanooga’s beautiful downtown riverfront. You’ll meet the otters in the River Journey, where you can also learn more about the resident turtles, alligators, giant catfish and thousands of freshwater wonders. The Ocean Journey is where the penguins thrive, and you’ll find sharks, and can interact with scuba divers. It’s a amazing place to discover more about these amazing animals, and how you can make a difference in your own backyard!
Plan Your Visit To The Tennessee Aquarium
Tickets for the Tennessee Aquarium allow access to both the River Journey and Ocean Journey sections of the Aquarium. To order tickets, and learn more about current exhibits, movies playing at the IMAX Movie Theater, and explore more on River Otter Falls visit their website.
By Melody Schubert