THE AQUARIUM’S YELLOW ITINERARY
Rivers and streams
A journey to discover rivers and streams. An incredible area represented by two splendid pools, with young caimans, and our planet’s most playful and loveable mammals, the otters, presented in their natural habitats.
Thanks to two latest-generation pools, the Yellow Itinerary is now one of Cattolica Aquarium’s most important. An important step forward for the mission of the aquarium, which by pursuing collaborations with other European aquariums aims to actively contribute in conservation projects for many species. The attention is attracted immediately by the freshwater world and by all the creatures that live in it, including our delightful Asian otters.
Two fantastic novelties
The Yellow Itinerary is characterized by two particularly important attractions.
Otters from the rivers of Asia and dwarf caimans from the Amazon. Two incredible habitats, perfectly reconstructed to show you these extraordinary creatures from close up.
advice for visits
Otters are nocturnal animals that alternate moments of hunting and play with short but frequent periods of collective rest that reinforce social relations.
To see the otters in all their splendour, we advise you to visit the Yellow Itinerary while they are being fed.
Usually the otters are most active both before and after their moments of interaction with our staff.
Water, a precious resource
Looking at the Earth, we can see that 30% of its surface is covered by land, and the remaining 70% is covered by water. We all know how much the water of our planet is vital for the survival of a stable equilibrium that allows all of its life forms to continue their existence. Many however are perhaps unaware that of this 70% of the Earth covered by water, only 3% consists in freshwater surfaces, with the rest consisting in the saltwater present in the seas and oceans. Although freshwater is present in such a small proportion, it is immensely important, and is situated above all at the North and South Poles, in underground water deposits, and finally on the surface, in rivers and lakes. This is the theme of the Yellow Itinerary, which in future years will be extended, allowing visitors to view the various river environments present throughout the world, together with the organisms that inhabit them.
oriental small-clawed otter
The Oriental Small-Clawed Otter – Aonyx cinerea – is the world’s smallest otter. It lives in mangrove swamps and freshwater wetlands in Bangladesh, southern India, China, Indochina, Peninsular Malaya and the Philippines, often near irrigated rice fields where food is easier to find. This species spends most of its time on land, unlike all the other otters.
Fully-grown otters are about 98 cm long from head to tail, with a weight from 2.7 to 5.4 kg. They eat fishes, frogs, crabs, shrimps and shellfish. Their thick fur has 1000 hairs per square millimetre, protecting them against water and trapping air bubbles that insulate them from the cold. The eyes are located towards the front of the head, and the ears are small and rounded, with a valve-like structure that allows them to be closed during their brief dives. The muzzle has whiskers that are sensitive to touch and underwater vibrations, playing an important role in detecting the movements of prey.
These oriental small-clawed otters are distinguished above all by their front paws, which they use to feed on molluscs, crabs and other small aquatic creatures.
Oriental small-clawed otters live in extended family groups, with only the dominant alpha couple breeding, and offspring from previous years helping to rear the young.
Habitat degradation, pollution and hunting have led the oriental small-clawed otter to be considered a species at risk of extinction by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Cuvier’s dwarf caiman
Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman – Paleosuchus palpebrosus – is perhaps the world’s smallest crocodile species. Adult exemplars rarely exceed the length of 1.5 metres, with a maximum weight of about 15 kg. Females are usually smaller and have a lower weight.
The Dwarf Caiman is a reptile of the Alligatoridae family. Its colour can vary from brown to black, with variations in shade and black bands. Younger animals are generally more distinctly and brightly coloured, becoming darker as they grow older, until they are almost totally black. In this species, the iris of the eye is brown in colour, and not green.
The body of the dwarf caiman is covered with bony plates, and the mouth has about 80 teeth, with very powerful jaws.
Female dwarf caimans lay about 15 eggs at a time during the rainy season on special mounds built from mud and vegetation, with the incubation lasting from 90 to 92 days. The distribution area of the dwarf caiman is in South America, where it prefers flooded forests and stagnant pools.
A total population in the wild of around one million of these caimans has been estimated, and for this reason it was listed as a protected CITES species in 1973.