Good afternoon once again from T.I.G.E.R.S in Myrtle Beach!
Featured with Moksha in this amazing photo, Little Chin is one of three Asian small-clawed otters being cared for at the Myrtle Beach Safari in South Carolina. Born into captivity to help boost numbers and public awareness, 1-year-old Chin has been raised from a pup by her trainer, Moksha Bybee.
“I consider her to be my otter daughter,” said Moksha who walks and swims with Chin every day. The aquatic action takes place in a specially-designed 67,000 gallon pool which is big enough to give an elephant a few laps. “Chin rides on my shoulder and I have a little harness to keep her safe because otters can be very slippery on land,” added Moksha.
The lovable river mammal loves to eat minnows, tiliapia fish, trout and a specially made feed called “otter chow”. Moksha says, “She sometimes likes to eat a hard boiled egg and her favorite toys are a red rubber ball and a bell”. Named after a river in Asia, Chin may look like the perfect companion, but only a trained professional should care for her. According to Doc Antle, Director of the Myrtle Beach Safari, “otters only bond with one or two people and should not be kept as pets at all. They are prone to biting people they don’t know and they have extremely strong jaws and sharp teeth. Little Chin has this cute little face but if she bit you, it could be 50 stitches before you know it! Their bite is as bad as a large dog’s bite”.
Known for their dexterity, small-clawed otters are facing possible extinction is Asia due to deforestation and pollution in the rivers. Scientists call them “indicator species” because the entire ecosystem is connected to the health of their population. Small-clawed otters are the tiniest of all the otter species. The largest is the giant otter or “river wolf” of the Amazon. The giant otter is an endangered beast that can grow up to 5 1/2 feet long and weigh 75 pounds.
For more information about T.I.G.E.R.S, visit www.myrtlebeachsafari.com.