Barn Hill Preserve arranges guided tours of experiences, encourages tourists to chill out with sloths and swim with otters. That’s right if you’re stressed out of working long hours or the mundane schedule you’re thinking about yourself, “What could make me feel more relaxed?” Chilling with Asian small-clawed otters in a pool is the answer.
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Individuals must be at least 16 years old and must sign a waiver in anticipation for their experience “We are a federally licensed facility in Ethel, Louisiana. Our otter swims are a very limited experience as we don’t provide many,” the President/CEO of Barn Hill Preserve, John “Gabe” Ligon, told Bored Panda. “The swim experience includes a tour of the preserve which includes African servals, red kangaroos, and a climate-controlled sloth exhibit.”
The tour’s otter swim portion includes time with the otters to change clothes, orientation, and swim. It lasts for about one hour. Otters swim in the pool for an average time of 35 minutes. There is a limited number of otter swimming so it stays a very wonderful experience for them.
However, much more is done by the preserve. “We also provide a home for animals, including a large group of free-flying macaws,” Ligon said. “These macaws have lifespans of up to 80 years and possess intelligence that compares with human toddlers. We help these birds learn to fly so they can live out their 80 years in the Louisiana countryside. We hope that seeing these birds fly in a flock, will inspire people to help protect their wild cousins, who are rapidly losing land to human development. Some animals are owner surrenders, while others are planned acquisitions from Federally licensed facilities.”
The Asian small-clawed otter is the world’s smallest otter species. It resides in South and Southeast Asia’s mangrove swamps and freshwater ponds and lives in extended family communities with only the mating of alpha pairs; offspring from previous years help raise young.
“A typical day for an Asian otter at the preserve includes waking up to the smell of a fish and shrimp breakfast. Taking a morning swim, grooming one another to dry off, taking a mid-day nap, chasing insects that fly into the exhibit, and taking more naps. Our otters on exhibit have a large behind the scenes privacy house that allows them to enter any time they aren’t feeling social.”
“We provide free educational programs to students at elementary schools, some of which have never seen these animals in ‘real life,’” Ligon added. “We participate in an event hosted by the Dream Day Foundation that provides a fun-filled day of no worries to the patients of St. Jude and their families. Last year, some of our staff, including myself, worked to rescue spectacled flying foxes that had been orphaned due to the record heatwave in Cairns, Australia. While in Australia, we also presented a donation check from fundraising to the Tree Kangaroo Rescue and Conservation Centre for their amazing work with tree kangaroos.” Barn Hill Preserve has been very active in the community as well.
“We are very passionate about the work we do here. We challenge the public to get active in what’s going on in the environment, the world around them, so we can ensure that wild places for wildlife are here for generations to come.”
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Pumpkin Patch Time is nearly here! Who’s ready to visit our Annual Pumpkin Patch in Ethel, Louisiana? For only $12 a person you’ll get a pumpkin for the patch, meet animals across the Preserve, get lost in the corn maze, play in the corn pit, take a hayride, sit in on an animal show, and more! Festivities kick off October 5th and continue every Saturday and Sunday until November and every weekday for field trips. #pumpkinpatch #barnhill #southlouisiana #louisianatourism