Aquarium Announces Otter Naming Contest Results

Friday, April 25, 2014 - by Thom Benson

The Tennessee Aquarium’s seven feisty otters have big personalities that guests will come to know and love when River Otter Fallsopens next Friday, May 2.

Until recently, Delmar was the only one who was officially named. Over 600 name suggestions (More than 100 for each of the other six otters.) were submitted by otter fans on the Aquarium’s Facebook page and in the Aquarium’s gift shops. The Aquarium’s otter experts then combed through the list to match these names with six furry faces: Maya, Bennie, Louie, Scout, Hunter and Digger.

“Several people suggested famous Chattanooga-related names,” said Aquarium otter keeper Jennifer Wawra. “Hunter and Louie, named after the Hunter Museum of American Art and the Lookouts’ mascot, seemed to fit their personality profiles.”  The only female of the group was named Maya. “We liked that name because it sounds playful and reminds us of celebrating the Aquarium’s anniversary each May,” said Aquarium otter keeper Courtney Lewis. “She is certainly a ball of energy and always seems to be right in the middle of all the action.”

Several people suggested Benedict, a tip of the hat to “Sherlock” star Benedict Cumberbatch. He has risen to fame offscreen through viral Internet posts comparing his face to otter faces. Even he admits that having dashing otter-like features is helping his success. “It’s the blessing of having a weird face,” Cumberbatch told The Hollywood Reporter. “Somewhere between an otter and something people find vaguely attractive.”  Aquarium guests may want to take pictures of “Bennie” to see if his handsome face matches the actor’s facial features.

“Scout,” is a rather adept climber, sometimes leading the way for others. And “Digger” comes by his name naturally. “He loves to dig and spend time playing in the sand,” said Ms. Lewis. “Aquarium guests may see him covered in dirt almost as much as you’ll see him in the water.”

All seven otters will have opportunities to playfully explore their new home each day. They will appear in different, rotating groups of various sizes from two otters to five at a time. So, guests might see Maya and Bennie swimming with Scout early in the day and Delmar, Louie, Hunter and Digger scampering around in the afternoon.

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