It’s with heavy hearts that we announce the death of Squirt, a North American river otter that has called The Wild Center home since 2006. She passed away peacefully in her enclosure earlier this week.
We’re sad, but this was not unexpected. Squirt was over 21 years old, meaning she was considered “geriatric” and lived an incredibly full life. Most of her wild counterparts only reach 10 to 12 years old.
Squirt has been an integral part of The Wild Center since we opened. In 2001, Squirt was a small and helpless pup when she was found by a farmer’s dog in a southern Michigan field. In need of immediate medical care, she was rushed to a local wildlife rehabilitator who nursed her back to health. Unfortunately, she became too comfortable around humans during this time and would not be safe on her own in the wild. Squirt was taken in by the Clinch Park Zoo in Traverse City, MI where she lived until the zoo closed in the summer of 2006. Befitting of her impending superstar status, she was flown by private plane to the Adirondacks a few days before The Wild Center had its grand opening in 2006. Squirt became an instant sensation upon our opening. She became a beloved animal ambassador for her species, educating hundreds of thousands of visitors over the past 17 years about the habitats, behaviors and lifestyles of North American river otters. She even had a book written about her!
She will be remembered collecting rocks off of the floor of Otter Falls and creating interesting piles with them. She was naturally curious and energetic, loved to play, loved to show off for visitors and lounge in her hammock. Occasionally mischievous, Squirt was often sassy, sometimes a diva, and her skills for escaping helped early on showing staff how to improve brand new animal enclosures. She was much beloved by all who knew her and was a vital member of our team.
Donations in memory of Squirt may be made here. Squirt leaves behind her fellow otters, Louie, Scarlett, Tawi:ne and Rohsno:re.