Oklahoma Trails is home for new female river otter, Hazel.

Guests visiting the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden will have an opportunity to see its newest animal family member, Hazel, a female North American river otter. Hazel, 1, recently arrived at the OKC Zoo from Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, Michigan, and can be seen at the Zoo’s river otter habitat in the Big Rivers building at Oklahoma Trails. The recommendation for Hazel to relocate to the OKC Zoo came from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan® (SSP) for North American river otters. AZA’s SSP programs are cooperatively managed programs created to oversee species populations within AZA accredited zoos and aquariums. 

“It’s always exciting to connect guests to a new member of our animal family,” said Tyler Boyd, the Oklahoma City Zoo’s curator of carnivores. “Hazel is settling in nicely and becoming familiar with her new habitat space. At this time, she is our only river otter but we are working with the AZA’s SSP program for river otters to find her a companion.” 

Located throughout North America and Canada, river otters are classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as stable, meaning that their population in the wild is not in immediate danger of decline. River otters are just one of 13 different otter species found globally. River otters are known for their long slender bodies with short legs and their excellent swimming abilities. Adult otters can vary greatly in size, growing to about 2.5 to 5 feet and weighing between 10 and 30 pounds. A carnivorous species, river otters eat fish, frogs, crayfish, turtles and even some small mammals. They hunt either alone or in pairs but can also forage on land for insects and small mammals.

You “otter” make your way to the OKC Zoo to see Hazel! The Oklahoma City Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with the last entry no later than 4 p.m. Purchase advance tickets for general admission at www.okczoo.org/tickets. Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the OKC Zoo is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and an Adventure Road partner. Regular admission is $12 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free.

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