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Otter-ly adorable: meet the newest members of Wheelgate Farm

Have you met the newest addition to the farm at Robin Hood’s Wheelgate Park?

Two twin otters were revealed to the public last week after more than six weeks of preparation at the farm.

An Otter in the new enclosure

An Otter in the new enclosure

The otters, named ‘Harry Otter’ and ‘Ottermus Prime’, were unveiled at the official opening of the new otter enclosure, which has cost the farm more than £10,000 to prepare for.

The Animal Adventure Zone at Wheelgate will now house the Asian short-clawed twins, with the seven-month-old brothers already proving a firm favourite among the Wheelgate staff.

“Both the otters are massive characters”, explains Wheelgate’s farm manager Keith Sambrooks.

“Ottermus prime is very ballsy and confident around the enclosure, while his brother Harry Otter is more timid and likes to keep his distance.”

The new Otter enclosure

The new Otter enclosure

The otters were named via a Facebook poll among Wheelgate’s customers, where Ottermus Prime and Harry Otter came out as the most popular.

The twins were born at Newquay Zoo after its otter family had a litter, and when their father naturally decided that both the otters were ready to go off and find their own land, Wheelgate jumped at the opportunity to open an otter enclosure.

Keith said: “We have wanted to house otters for a very long time because they are such interesting animals, and as they are on the endangered species list we wanted to help preserve them.

“Since they have arrived here they are great fun and there is always something different with them, and I am really excited to get to learn their mannerisms more.”

An Otter in the new enclosure

An Otter in the new enclosure

Harry and Ottermus arrived at the Adventure Zone six weeks ago and have gone through a teething period at the farm, getting to know their new environment - which includes a natural pool - as well as allowing the farm staff to get to know them.

To keep the otters occupied Keith and his staff have placed inflatable footballs around the enclosure, and have thought of a creative way to examine their natural habits on a daily basis.

He said: “We have placed plastic eggs around the enclosure with treats inside, and we have been watching to see what they do to get them open.

“It is really interesting to watch because it shows how their brains would work in the wild.”

An Otter in the new enclosure

An Otter in the new enclosure

“We hope that, once the otters are old and wise enough, we can acquire a female otter and start breeding our own litter and help to preserve the wonderful species.”

The otter exhibit is open to the public every day at Wheelgate’s Animal Adventure Zone, with farm keepers available every day at 11am and 2.45pm for an interactive feeding session and talk.

Otter enclosure opening, Cllr Kevin Rostance and his wife Jayne with keepers Jade Bowers and Keith Sambrooks

Otter enclosure opening, Cllr Kevin Rostance and his wife Jayne with keepers Jade Bowers and Keith Sambrooks