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Thank You Zookeepers for All That You Do!

A group of young zookeepers, feeding of a african manatees in the Zoological Garden.

Zookeepers – our animal friends in everyone’s favorite parks around the world would be lost without them. With last week being National Zookeeper Week, we took some time to reflect on how important these members of the community are, both for the well-being of zoo creatures (big and small) and keeping the public educated about them.  

Many typical zoo-goers may not realize this, but a zookeeper’s role extends far beyond feeding animals and making sure their enclosures are tidy. Did you know…a typical zookeeper usually has the following responsibilities:   

  • Administering an animal’s medication 
  • Keeping detailed reports on animal behaviors and disclosing any unusual changes to vets or managers 
  • Assisting with certain veterinary procedures 
  • Keeping detailed records 
  • Feeding the animals 
  • Keeping the animal’s enclosure clean and maintained 

Now that’s nothing to roar at! In addition to all of these duties, zookeepers are typically equipped with a background in animal science, zoology, or biology. So, the next time you have a zoo day and attend a presentation about penguins (or the animal of your choice), rest assured that these workers really do know a thing or two about their furry, feathered, or slimy friends.   

Without these well-educated folks, many animals would still be on the world’s endangered list. It’s thanks to the tireless efforts of zookeepers that species can revitalize, repopulate, and rehabilitate, both in zoos and in the wild.  

 Thank you, zookeepers!  

We would like to recognize our zookeeper friends at a few zoos around the country:

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Otto Environmental Teams up with the Rio Grande Zoo

Hornbills, like many bird species, have their own needs when it comes to enrichment.  Diane Longenecker, who is the Senior Keeper-Birds at ABQ BioPark-Rio Grande Zoo in Albuquerque, NM, approached Otto Environmental about creating unique enrichment devices that utilize natural Abyssinian Hornbill behavior.

Otto Environmental owner and Senior Enrichment Designer, Jeff Otto, has now designed two different enrichment devices for Hornbills: the Hornbill Forage Tube and the Hornbill Forager.  Watch Maybelline, the Abyssinian Hornbill, enjoy working for her meal as she explores the depths of the Forage Tube.

While initially made for Hornbills, these unique feeders can provide many opportunities for enrichment of many large avian species.

The Forage Tube’s spinning drum is made of heavy duty fabric, with slats in which to hide food and treats.  It is adjustable, so the openings can be sized appropriately for the needs of the bird.  It includes an eye-bolt for hanging high or low.  It measures 23″ long and 7.5″ in diameter (58cm x 19cm).  Go to our online store to see more or to purchase.

Go here to see and read more about the Hornbill Forager.

Special thanks to Diane Longenecker of the Rio Grande Zoo in Albuquerque, NM.


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Animal Enrichment: We Are Molding Products to Fit Your Needs

How things are made can be fascinating to most people, so we thought you might want to see how some of our own exclusive Otto Environmental’s animal enrichment items are produced – right here in the USA!  Many of our most fun and creatively designed toys are made of colorful thermoplastic, injection molded here in Southeastern Wisconsin, and ready to stand up to amazingly extreme punishment from a host of various animal species, from canine to primate.

Click on an image below to go to our online store and find out more about some of the most durable and unique enrichment items you’ll ever see.

The Zoy ($9.45) The Zigg ($10.45)
The Z-2 ($9.45 ea.) The Zyro ($8.80 ea.)
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Tree Kangaroo Claws: An Animal Enrichment Case Study

One of our favorite things is to get creative when our local zookeeper friends need a solution for a particularly “sticky” animal enrichment issue. See what we mean in this video we shot at the Milwaukee County Zoo.

While we offer existing solutions for animal enrichment of all kinds, we also welcome requests for custom solutions.  Contact us and we’ll help find something in our vast stock or we may be able to develop something special for your needs.

We work with zoos and animal habitats worldwide.

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Some Happy “End Users” of Otto Environmental Products

In today’s technological world we usually think of an end user as someone with a mouse in hand, but here at Otto Environmental we think of the mouseas the end user… and the tiger… and the horse… and the kangaroo… and the ferret… and, well, you get it!

Check out our online store for more animal enrichment items to make your end user happy!


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BIG FUN for Your Big Friends – The Aptly Named TITAN!

A big package of fun for the large animals in your care… the Titan, an Otto Environmental exclusive.

This is the largest in a line of similar toys for animals of all sizes, which also includes the Weeble and the Weeto, all designed and manufactured by Otto Environmental.

The Titan measures 36″ high, with walls of 7/16″ thick polyethylene, weighing in at 200 lbs. and able to take lots of punishment.  Great for teething!

See more about the TITAN in our online store »


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Floating, Feeding Enrichment for Seals, Otters, Penguins and Others

This simple floating feeder will be a sure hit with water-feeding animals.

The outer ring has an outside diameter of 24″ and stays afloat thanks to the inner ball.  Both ring and floating ball are made of molded polyethylene for long-lasting strength.

Order from the Otto Environmental online store »


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Versatile Nesting Box for a Multitude of Species – An Otto Exclusive

An Otto Environmental exclusive, this polypropylene box can be the perfect solution for many animals’ nesting needs.

It has a sliding door, can be compartmentalized and hung securely on the inside of a medium or larger size cage.

Standard size is 10″ x 8″ x 8″.  You can also order other sizes that can be custom-built to your specifications.

See our online store – call for quantity discounts.

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Otto Environmental’s Wash Basket Helps Make Animal Care a Little Easier

The Wash Basket helps make easy work of washing the little stuff (and the medium-sized stuff, too).

Washing small things individually takes too much time.  Time that can be saved by loading one or more baskets for efficient cleaning of animal enrichment items, food dishes, and the like.  The Wash Basket is made of thick, 1″ square stainless steel mesh, with corner brackets and latch.  Once filled, the sturdy lid snaps into place quickly.

The Wash Basket measures 13″ x 20″ x 8″ high and slides neatly into a rolling cart that can hold up to six baskets (sold separately).

Check out our online store for more about the value-priced Wash Basket and its rolling companion Bottle Basket Cart.


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Primate Enrichment System

The Primate Enrichment System (PES) is made up of over 20 interchangeable toys and treat dispensers designed to enrich the lives of small to medium primates.  These colorful and entertaining products can be easily switched thanks to the adjustable stainless steel universal bracket, providing variety and entertainment.

Click here to visit our online store and see our entire line of PES products for primates, including the new larger and sturdier universal bracket designed to handle rough treatment form orangutangs and other larger primates.