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Snow is no problem for the Shedd Aquarium’s otters

Northern sea otter Kiana plays with fresh snow brought into her habitat for enrichment. | ©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

You might not like slipping and sliding around in the snow that blanketed Chicago early Monday, but the otters at the Shedd Aquarium sure do.

Animal care experts brought fresh snow into the Shedd’s otter habitat for Luna, a Southern sea otter; Kiana, a Northern seat otter; and Yaku, the aquarium’s only male otter. Luna and Kiana are both rescues that were deemed unfit to release back into the wild.

The otters aren’t just showing off, though —  playing in the snow encourages physical exercise and mental stimulation that is important for their care. They also have the densest fur in the animal kingdom, so they don’t get too cold.

“It’s also important to keep the sessions varied and fun, so adding a new element like snow intrigues and satisfies these naturally curious animals,” according to the aquarium.