Asian small-clawed otters food bucket challenge at Basel Zoo
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The four Asian small-clawed otters share their enclosure with the Indian rhino. This formidable beast most likely will not attract the otters’ curiosity, so this should be satisfied in another way. Asian small-clawed otters search for mussels, snails and small fish in streams and shallow waters. Unfortunately, it is not possible to distribute these kinds of treats across the waters of the exhibit as they would attract crows, herons and rats. And there are many of those around, so the food would be gone before the otters would get to it. Therefore the zookeepers cleverly designed a kind of mobile made of buckets with holes in it. A bucket with food will lower when the ice in the bucket on the other side melts. The otters regularly check whether the buckets are low enough yet. It is only then that they can claw the mussels out of the holes with their hands. The mobiles are placed at various points across the compound, so that these little critters can always find a challenge and be on the lookout for food all day long.