Fenya and Benya: Moskvarium has now a couple of unique small-clawed otters

December 27, 2019
Parks and pedestrian areas

Moskvarium's Oceanography and Marine Biology Centre at VDNKh has now Asian small-clawed otters. A couple of animals, a female and a male, have been brought from St. Petersburg's Oceanarium, where they were born a year ago. Now the predators are settling in an enclosure with panoramic windows built specially for them. Visitors can see the rare otters as early as on 26 December. You will find enclosure No.13 at the beginning of the main exhibition.

'In early December, shortly before the animals moved, Moskvarium had held a contest among its social media accounts’ subscribers to choose the best name for the couple of otters. Followers offered more than 350 options. The boy was named Benedict, Benya for short, and the girl was named Feodora, or Fenya. They are adorable and affectionate animals that love running, swimming, playing and prefer an active lifestyle. Fenya is a mischievous girl. As for Benya, he is rather modest and reserved,' told Moskvarium's Press Service.

Asian small-clawed otters are predators of Mustelidae family. They are perfect swimmers and skilled hunters, agile and flexible. Of the 13 existing species of otters, they are considered the smallest ones with their body length not exceeding 1m, and the weight up to 5 kg. For comparison, the their closest relative, the European otter, weighs up to 10 kg. In the wild, small-clawed otters live in freshwater swamps in Indonesia, China, and the Philippines. They have almost no claws (or their claws are very small). Sharp teeth are their main defence. All otters have a conservation status.

The Moskvarium newcomers live in an enclosure with an area of about 20 sq m. Specialists have recreated a stretch of a coastline typical of Southeast Asia. Microclimate comfortable for otters ― humid air and +30°C during the day and +25°C at night ― is maintained inside. There is a system of reservoirs with fresh water in the new home for the small predators to swim. Besides, there are several sites with hay, sand, bark, stones, tree trunks and branches. Also, Moskvarium’s new inhabitants have a house with two burrows, where they like to slumber. Anytime soon, otters will get their Christmas gifts such as balls, rope ladders and a wooden Christmas tree, which the Oceanarium employees will decorate with edible veggy presents.

Fenya and Benya enjoy a well-balanced diet including turkey and chicken meat, cod, vegetables and fruit. Their favourite treats are pumpkin and sweet peppers. Public feeding will take place daily at 01:30 pm. Visitors can watch it through the panoramic glass.

26 to 29 December, VDNKh's Oceanarium is going to run 'Hello, Otter!' themed festival on the occasion of the new inhabitants' arrival. It will include insightful classes, an entertaining program, crafts workshops and children’s quests. The festival will run on the site of Moskvarium's main exhibition. Participation is free for all ticketed visitors. Find detailed information about the event on Moskvarium's website.

Public feeding is one of the popular entertainments among Moskvarium visitors. You can watch feeding of a shark stingray, the only in Russia, listed on the IUCN Red List. Rare inhabitants are fed by divers.

As a rule, feeding takes place in the main marine aquarium on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 02:00 pm. Visitors can see up close this exciting process in minute detail.

Source: mos.ru

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