All our animals are different, and so they all have their own habits and needs. I'll try to keep this answer as clear as possible, by tell something about the feeding, need for personal attention
and energy levels of them all.
-Feeding habits: Otters have a very fast metabolism. That means, they need to be feed at least 3 times a day (I prefer more). I'll try to make every day a different one, but for example I feed her at 7:00, 12:00, 17:00 and 22:00.
-Need for personal attention: As a family lover they spend a lot of time together by grooming each other, hunt together, play together and sleep together. Pip has her mates during the day for the play and sleep, but really feels the need to cuddle, play, swim and walk outside together with me (her ALPHA).
Pip is really upset if I'm away from home for one day or longer. Less upset when my man is away for so long.
-Energy level: Extremely high!
-Feeding habits: Sam isn't a big eater. But I feed him 2 to 4 times a day. For example at 7:00, 12:00 and/or 17:00 and at 22:00
-Need for personal attention: Cats are solitary animals by nature. But Sam loooooves his private cuddle a lot. During the day we make sure every single animal gets his or her personal attention. Sam is sleeping together with us in our bedroom for 3 or 4 nights a week. He loves that!
-Energy level: High!
-Feeding habits: Depends on the season. Skunks are using the winter to sleep a lot. Called winterrest. We're happy to see her once day during that period. She doesn't eat a much then, sometimes not even once a day.
But while summer I feed her 3 or 4 times a day.
-Need for personal attention: Also skunks are solitary animals. And so they are nocturnal! But Rox is a bit different, the thing she can enjoy so much is sleeping, in our bed XD
And so she does, for 3 or 4 times a week (switching Sam).
-Energy level: Depends on the season. During winter: Very low. During Summer: Normal.
-Feeding habits: I feed them once a day.
-Need for personal attention: Luckily they have each other, but they love spend time out of their aviary or in their outdoor aviary during summer.
-Energy level: Normal
-Feeding habits: I feed her 4 times a day during this age, I will go to 2 or 3 times when she gets older.
-Need for personal attention: As the most of you know dogs need lots of time and attention. This breed is a very active one, who needs a lot of walks, runs, and biking. When she will be a grownup, I guess we are outdoors with her for around 4 hours a day.
-Energy level: High!
So, we're not longer away from home during a normal day than 6 hours. But every day is a different one. The real maximum of hours we can let them alone is 8 hours I guess. But only now and then.
Nope, we can't go on vacation together. Because Pip doesn't accept other people in our home anymore. Otters are territorial animals, and it's in their nature (in special the females) to attack
intruders in their territory.
We are thinking about trying to go on a small vacation the next year. Together with Yuka and Pip.
The rest of our clan can easily be taken care of by one of our friends. It's only a big challenge for us to bring Pip somewhere new, in a strange house... where it's not allowed to destroy anything...
Yup! So as Sam and Rox.
I shall not talk about how big that job was to teach her that, and how she sometimes still misses the litter box.
To be honest I didn't tried to let her walk of the leash for 1,5 years. But recently I just tried and watched what she does on places where it's safe and quite. Otters are family animals, always stick together because together they are stronger and safer than alone. They live in a pack, like wolves, and so they walk/swim in a pack. Pip sees me as her mom, as the Alfa, the pack leader. So wherever I go, she will go too. That makes sense to me, in our situation.
She definitely does. Otters are very vocal animals by nature, so have around 12 sounds in the wild where they communicate with.
Pip also know's my language, not only words but she only gets it when I talk with emotion.
-UHHH!! = like I do not allow what she's doing right now!
-COME! = she needs to follow me
-PIPPI/PUPPY/PIP = yea, that's her names of course
-When I talk softly while cuddling, she talks back.
-When I talk loud and angry, she shows off she know's I'm seriously angry and most of the time she is making softly sounds and lies on her back most of the time. Like she asks for forgiveness.
Because I've worked as a zookeeper, I also met a vet who is specialized in wild animals. When there's something wrong with Pip, Rox or the Caiques, I will go to him.
Sam and Yuka just go to a standard veterinarian.
Hell no! One otter around is more than enough.
I believe otters need family members to be happy, so otters who are alone at zoo's etc. really need a companion. Pip isn't used to otters and doesn't know otters as her own species (yet).
I always say, if we cross by a place, which I believe is a better place to be for her, with a male? making their own family.. I will be able to let her go.
But till then, we are her family, and oh dear god no.. don't want a second destroyer in here!
If I had the chance to do it all over, I would do it all different than I did while fostering Pip. I definitely made sure she was ending up with other otters as her family. Because otters belong to otters.