We’re sad to announce that over the weekend, Bell, one of the two North American river otters at The Maritime Aquarium passed away over the weekend.
On Sunday she was taken to the vet where she was anesthetized and x-rayed. The x-rays showed that her lungs contained a significant amount of fluid and were severely compromised. That afternoon she had extreme difficulty breathing and succumbed to her condition.
Bell, who came to the Aquarium in 1996 when she was 15 months old, was 19. She was named after one of the Norwalk islands.
“We’re always saddened by the death of any animal at the Aquarium, but losing an otter – an animal that is so charismatic – is especially like having a star go out,” said John Lenzycki, curator of animals. “Caring for these animals every day, our aquarists develop attachments to them, similar to one’s feelings for a family pet.
Bell had shown signs of failing health over the past few months, including a loss of appetite and reduced activity. The cause of her death is unknown but will be sought through a necropsy.
Life expectancy of a river otter is about eight to 10 years in the wild but rises to about 20 for otters that receive attentive husbandry care in zoos and aquariums.
The Aquarium’s other river otter, an 11-year-old male named Lew, is in good health, Lenzycki said, adding that it is too soon to say if, when or how Bell will be replaced.
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