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Draper Journal

10 years old and triple the fun: Loveland Living Planet Aquarium celebrates otters’ birthdays

Apr 02, 2020 11:11AM ● By Stephanie Yrungaray

Partygoers watch as the river otters dig into their birthday cake at a celebration at Loveland Living Planet Aquarium. (Stephanie Yrungaray/City Journals)

By Stephanie Yrungaray |[email protected]

It was a typical birthday party until the guests of honor pushed their cake into the river.  

North American river otter triplets Oscar, Oliver and Otis celebrated their 10th birthday at the Loveland Living Aquarium on March 5.

With about 50 party guests donning their own paper otter ears, the birthday celebration included decorated shields for the otters to play with and a three-layer cake. The bottom layer was fruits and vegetables frozen in purple ice, the middle layer was fish frozen into ice and the top layer was smashed up otter pellets mixed with pureed fish and topped with fish candles.

Oliver had the biggest appetite for birthday cake while Otis and Oscar tried in vain to get to the GoPro camera that was tied in a branch to capture party footage. After about 10 minutes the entire cake got pushed into the exhibit’s water and the triplets feasted on their special treat.

“Otters are super smart and they know if they put the ice in the water it will melt faster and they can get to the fish,” said Mika Miller, digital marketing specialist for Loveland Living Planet Aquarium. “They swim around with the pieces until they melt and they can get to the food. It’s really cute.”

Born at the Long Island Aquarium New York, the otter brothers came to their Utah home in 2012. The big double-digits birthday is a substantial one for river otters.

“Animal age-wise these guys would be starting to get up there,” said Brent Beardsley, public programs manager at the aquarium. “In the wild, otters live to be 9–12 years old but under human care they can live to be up to 21.”

The otters, with their curious nature, playful antics and swimming skills, are a big draw for aquarium visitors.

10-year-old Kelan Nowers came from Tooele for the otter birthday party.

“They ate the fish candles on the cake really fast,” Kelan said. “It was pretty cool.”

Beardsley said they want to use the otters’ birthday as a way to share a message about humans having sustainable birthday parties.

“We can choose wrapping papers that are recyclable,” Beardsley said. “We can use paper ribbons instead of plastic, paper confetti instead of glitter. All of these things help make a birthday both greener and less expensive.”

The aquarium staff hopes the otters’ birthday party can encourage everyone to celebrate animals in all of their forms by being environmentally aware.

“We hope guests can think about what they can do to help otters and other animals in the wild have a cleaner, better home so they can continue to celebrate and party on as well,” said Beardsley.