Otters Slide Into Summer Fun at the Zoo

Wed, 07/13/2011

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - Rizzo and DeLaney, aka "Laney," Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo's two resident North American River Otters, now have a new water slide and ramp to frolic and splash on, thanks to a generous sponsorship from Aquarion Water Company. The new slide and ramp offer both fun and function for these playful mammals, while at the same time enhancing their environment.

The improvements made to the otters' exhibit focused on upgrading the existing slides. Constructed of wooden planks, the previous slides often fell down and required a lot of ongoing maintenance. These new slides replicate wooden logs, with a hollowed out feature that the otters now enjoy running through. Both Rizzo and Laney initially needed some extra guidance in order to learn how to use the new equipment, with food serving as their preferred motivation during the training process.

Bruce Silverstone, Aquarion's vice president of corporate communications, explained Aquarion's continued partnership with the Zoo. "As stewards of the environment, Aquarion is committed to supporting environmental partners, and Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo is a perfect example. With a long history and tradition of developing, improving, and sustaining environmental initiatives, the otter exhibit upgrade is an excellent way for Aquarion to assist the Zoo in improving the facility."

Rizzo and Laney arrived at the Zoo in 2004. Laney was transferred from Dickerson Park Zoo in Missouri and Rizzo from the St. Louis Zoo. The pair has since produced four litters of offspring. Rizzo and Laney are the only otters currently in residence at the Zoo. Rizzo is eight years old, averages 25 lbs, and is quick and eager to train with food as an incentive. Laney is seven years old, averages 18 lbs, and tends to be more patient than Rizzo.

River otters are members of the weasel family. They prefer fish, but also will eat turtles, crayfish, and amphibians. They can remain under water for six to eight minutes and use their tails and back legs to push through the water at speeds of up to 18 mph.

Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo is closer than you think and is open daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Adult admission (ages 12 & older) is $12.00, children (ages 3 -11) and senior admission (62 and older) is just $10.00, and children under 3 years old are free. Zoo members also are admitted free. Parking is free of charge at the Zoo, which is located at 1875 Noble Avenue, Bridgeport, Connecticut. For information, call (203) 394-6565 or visit

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