Public Service Announcement: You Can Swim With Tiny Otters At This Animal Preserve

by Stephanie

What if we told you there is a place you can go that lets you hang out with sloths and... wait for it... swim with adorable otters? Yep, that's right, if you're feeling stressed and in need of an amazing getaway from life, you can totally chill pool-side with these cute little critters at Barn Hill Preserve in Ethel, Louisiana.

“The swim experience includes a tour of the preserve which includes African servals, red kangaroos, and a climate-controlled sloth exhibit,” says the President/CEO of Barn Hill Preserve, John “Gabe” Ligon.

Participants must be 16-years or older and are required to sign a waiver before the experience which lasts for around one hour.

The number of otter swims offered at the Preserve is limited in order to ensure this remains a positive experience for the animals.

The number of otter swims offered at the Preserve is limited in order to ensure this remains a positive experience for the animals.

“Guests enter the pool, and the otters are introduced for playtime. If they want to play with enrichment toys on the deck, that’s their choice. Our otters are never forced to do anything, the entire experience is completely positive,” Ligon explained.

“Guests enter the pool, and the otters are introduced for playtime. If they want to play with enrichment toys on the deck, that’s their choice. Our otters are never forced to do anything, the entire experience is completely positive,” Ligon explained.

The Asian small-clawed otter is the smallest otter species in the world. It is currently listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List due to ongoing habitat loss, hunting and pollution.

The Asian small-clawed otter is the smallest otter species in the world. It is currently listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List due to ongoing habitat loss, hunting and pollution.

“A typical day for an Asian otter at the preserve includes waking up to the smell of a fish and shrimp breakfast. Taking a morning swim, grooming one another to dry off, taking a mid-day nap, chasing insects that fly into the exhibit, and taking more naps. Our otters on exhibit have a large behind the scenes privacy house that allows them to enter any time they aren’t feeling social.”

“A typical day for an Asian otter at the preserve includes waking up to the smell of a fish and shrimp breakfast. Taking a morning swim, grooming one another to dry off, taking a mid-day nap, chasing insects that fly into the exhibit, and taking more naps. Our otters on exhibit have a large behind the scenes privacy house that allows them to enter any time they aren’t feeling social.”

“We provide free educational programs to students at elementary schools, some of which have never seen these animals in ‘real life,'” Ligon added.

“We provide free educational programs to students at elementary schools, some of which have never seen these animals in ‘real life,'” Ligon added.

“We participate in an event hosted by the Dream Day Foundation that provides a fun-filled day of no worries to the patients of St. Jude and their families. Last year, some of our staff, including myself, worked to rescue spectacled flying foxes that had been orphaned due to the record heatwave in Cairns, Australia. While in Australia, we also presented a donation check from fundraising to the Tree Kangaroo Rescue and Conservation Centre for their amazing work with tree kangaroos.”

“We participate in an event hosted by the Dream Day Foundation that provides a fun-filled day of no worries to the patients of St. Jude and their families. Last year, some of our staff, including myself, worked to rescue spectacled flying foxes that had been orphaned due to the record heatwave in Cairns, Australia.  While in Australia, we also presented a donation check from fundraising to the Tree Kangaroo Rescue and Conservation Centre for their amazing work with tree kangaroos.”

“We are very passionate about the work we do here. We challenge the public to get active in what’s going on in the environment, the world around them, so we can ensure that wild places for wildlife are here for generations to come.”

“We are very passionate about the work we do here. We challenge the public to get active in what’s going on in the environment, the world around them, so we can ensure that wild places for wildlife are here for generations to come.”

Some people loved the idea

Some people loved the idea

While others weren't so positive

While others weren't so positive

Barn Hill Preserve decided to respond to the concerns

Barn Hill Preserve decided to respond to the concerns

And their response was appreciated

And their response was appreciated

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