Otterly Adorable

2 Jul

A friend posted a photo of an incredibly cute otter (no, not a Benedict Cumberbatch photo) on her Facebook page a couple of days ago.  It triggered a train of thought.  Warm memories of happy times spent at Auckland Zoo watching the otters.

One of my favourite places to visit as a child (and when I grew up) was the zoo.  It was a major expedition to get there.  Involving two buses and about two hours travel time (allowing for bus waiting time).  I used to have to badger my mum to take me to the zoo, until I was about 10, and she decided I was old enough to go by myself.  Now that’s something guaranteed to make today’s child rearing experts shudder!

At least once every school holidays I would pack up some sandwiches, fruit, and a drink and make my equivalent of an expedition up the Orinoco.

The point of my expedition was always to spend hours outside the otter enclosure.  I absolutely adored those little critters.  Cute, playful and curious.  Much like my pet hedgehogs ( https://margysmusings.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/a-skirt-full-of-hedgehogs/ ).  And yes, it hasn’t escaped me, as a Sherlock fan, that my two favourite animals were always otters and hedgehogs.  Not sure if it’s ironic or just downright weird.

Anyway, back to the zoo.  There was a bench really close to the enclosure where I could sit for hours and just watch the otters.  The enclosure was open to the air, with a low stone wall, and a large pool for the otters to swim in.

People would come and go, pausing to watch for a few minutes, then wander away to look at something they considered more interesting, like the lions or the polar bears.  Me, I’d sit there, chewing a sandwich and watching my little friends at play.

After a while, the otters would realise that they had company.  First one, then several, would come to the wall of the enclosure and stand there watching me!  No fear behaviour, just curiosity.  Then they would start to play up.  Diving off rocks, running along logs, pouncing on each other, all the while watching me with one eye as if to say, “See, we’re adorable and this is why you are watching us.”  It was magical and utterly enchanting.  Otters are such cute little show offs.

Eventually, I would get up to go.  The otters would stop what they were doing and run to the wall, to say goodbye (I assumed that’s what the noises were they were making) and watch me leave.

When I was about nine my dad asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I replied “Famous.”  He asked me why.  “Because famous people get to pat the animals when they go to the zoo.  I want to pat the otters.”

I still do.

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2 Responses to “Otterly Adorable”

  1. youin5minutes July 3, 2013 at 4:17 am #

    daw my gosh! this is the cutest thing I have read all day! ❤ Thanks for making my day!

    Like

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