River Otter Holidays

On 4 very special days in December, we added over 1,000 pounds of snow to our river otter habitat, and the results were delightful! Our three resident river otters – Shasta, Baxter, and Ryer – could barely contain their excitement as they romped and rolled in the winter wonderland.

The snow may have melted, but you can relive the fun here.


 Snow days are more than just a fun way to celebrate the season – they help provide crucial enrichment for Shasta, Baxter, and Ryer. Throughout the year, Aquarium of the Bay’s biologists introduce various natural items – like hay, sand, dirt, and plants – to the river otter habitat to entertain the otters and keep them stimulated, both physically and mentally.
No need to worry about them getting cold – river otters are well equipped to handle winter temperatures. River otters have two layers of fur to keep them warm; one layer of longer fun that helps repel water, and a second inner layer featuring finer and denser hair that provides a layer of insulation. As a matter of fact, river otters have over 58,000 hairs per square centimeter coating their bodies.
Fun fact: River otters love to play in the snow and on icy and muddy hills, where they can often be seen sliding and tobogganing, wrestling and chasing one another.