Sunday, 22 November 2015

Day 368 - Simply Spectacular Squeak!

Hey everyone, today's Day 368 and as you all will know, my year has now finished but this does not mean I cannot keep on with my blog anyway. Even though it has been over a week since the day it finished I have still been getting congratulations from various people, I am truly amazed and very grateful for all of the lovely messages from everyone. Two messages are particularly worth mentioning again as they are the reason for today's post:

Little Squeak!
Awesome! But I had to tell them that my family already has a WWT Membership so they replied with something even better. They said that they wanted to give me an adoption pack for a baby Otter! They told me that at Washington (my nearest WWT reserve) there was a new little otter that was born on the 28th of May and that I could be one of the first to adopt her! I could not believe this and I was really happy and, obviously, accepted this offer.

Calling for the keepers just before feeding time
- Squeak is in the middle.
I hadn't been to Washington for a while and didn't know about Little Squeak so, yesterday I just had to go to see her. Her actual name is Ruby but they named her Little Squeak beforehand as they didn't know what gender she was for about 6 weeks. We got there in time for the feeding at 11:30 and we saw her parents as well, Musa and Mimi.

Mum and Squeak have a cuddle.
They were all really cute to see. I should probably also mention that they are all Asian-Short-Clawed Otter, the smallest of all 13 known Otter species. They have a lovely enclosure as well as a little room with a heater inside of one of the building's walls. I learnt a few more things about them too that I didn't have in my 'Oarsome Otter' post.

  • They need to eat 20% of their body weight everyday!
  • Only the dominant pair in a group will breed, any offspring that hang around will help to bring up the young. 
    Family feeding time - Squeak is at the back.
  • The pair bond for life and can have up to two broods a year with up to six babies in each
  • They have two layers of fur. The top one is the waterproof one but they also have an undercoat which is finer and dense. This traps air and keeps them warm and buoyant!
  • Squeak is now six months old and weighs 1.9kg
  • She is learning what skills she needs to be an otter by watching Mum and Dad.

Great Spotted Woodpecker
It was lovely to go back to Washington to see all of the other animals there and it was lovely to see one of my favourite birds, the Smew, in its Winter plumage as well, it looks lovely in any case. It's weird how they are going to eclipse already whereas the Mandarin ducks, which are in the same place, are still in full breeding plumage. I love Washington as there's such a lovely mix of wild areas and captive areas such as the Hawthorn Wood hide, this is a place where I have got some great photos such as the one to the right.

Black swan cygnets all grown up
Then there's the Close Encounters area where you really can get up close with the the birds all around you especially all of the various types of Geese like the Nene (or Hawaiian) Geese, the Red Breasted Geese and many others. I find this the best place to get some lovely photos such as the one below of a Smew:

It was nice to also see the Black Swan Cygnets, which we saw last time we visited, all grown up and looking like adults. It's such a lovely sight to see and I really like the contrast to the more common mute Swans. They are literally exactly the opposite, black with a red beak

I absolutely love Washington WWT, I'm going to try and get to some other reserves of theirs this year, I would have gone to Martin Mere this weekend but it ended up being quite busy so we didn't get chance as it's quite a long drive for us . I'm so happy that the WWT gave me the adoption of Little Squeak, it's a fantastic present and honour, thank you very much!

You can find out more about Squeak at the Washington WWT website where she has her own webpage:

Welcome to the world of Little Squeak!

Hope you enjoyed,


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