Eddie the slam-dunking sea otter at the Oregon Zoo - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Eddie the slam-dunking sea otter at the Oregon Zoo

PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The exercise routine of an arthritic sea otter at the Oregon Zoo is a slam dunk, followed by slam dunk after slam dunk.

Eddie is 15 years old, which is considered geriatric for the species. After an X-ray last year, arthritis was discovered in the animal's elbow.

The veterinarians prescribed regular exercise as a way to improve joint function, but that presented a challenge for zookeepers.

Sea otters don't use their front limbs to swim, instead using their back legs and flippers. So, workers decided to give basketball a try as a way of working out Eddie's elbows.

It didn't take long for Eddie to get a handle on what basketball is all about.

"He's definitely got game," said Jenny DeGroot, the zoo's lead otter keeper. "Sea otters have incredible dexterity, so it makes sense Eddie would have this hidden talent. They're famous for using rocks as tools to crack open clams."

Eddie rarely misses a slam dunk, according to zoo workers, but even when the ball doesn't bounce his way, he's trained to keep going until he scores a basket.

Eddie and his longtime companion, Thelma, have lived at the Oregon Zoo since 2000, on long-term loan from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Both otters were rescued off the coast of California, where they had been abandoned as pups in 1998. Lacking the skills to survive on their own in the wild, they were taken to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for rehabilitation, but were eventually deemed nonreleasable.

Visitors won't get a chance to watch Eddie's basketball exploits. His moves on the pseudo court take place off-exhibit, in a behind-the-scenes training pool connected to the zoo's Stellar Cove habitat via underwater tunnel.

Zoo workers think Terry Stotts, head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, might be especially impressed by the hoop skills of Eddie. Stotts majored in zoology at the University of Oklahoma.

Copyright 2013 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

  • WAVE 3 NewsNEWSMore>>

  • Mother of slain child wants to help prevent violence

    Mother of slain child wants to help prevent violence

    Monday, May 29 2017 12:16 AM EDT2017-05-29 04:16:19 GMT
    Dequante Hobbs Jr. (Source: Family Photo)Dequante Hobbs Jr. (Source: Family Photo)

    Micheshia Norment shared a collage of photos that was put together for the seventh birthday of Dequante Hobbs Jr.  Sadly, Hobbs will never get to see age eight.

    More >>

    Micheshia Norment shared a collage of photos that was put together for the seventh birthday of Dequante Hobbs Jr.  Sadly, Hobbs will never get to see age eight.

    More >>
  • Abbey Road On The River is a hit, despite rain

    Abbey Road On The River is a hit, despite rain

    Sunday, May 28 2017 12:29 AM EDT2017-05-28 04:29:27 GMT
    Despite a small thunderstorm blowing through WAVE Country, WAVE 3 News's Abbey Road On The River turned out to be hit on Saturday. (Source: WAVE 3 News)Despite a small thunderstorm blowing through WAVE Country, WAVE 3 News's Abbey Road On The River turned out to be hit on Saturday. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

    Despite a small thunderstorm blowing through WAVE Country, WAVE 3 News's Abbey Road On The River turned out to be hit on Saturday.

    More >>

    Despite a small thunderstorm blowing through WAVE Country, WAVE 3 News's Abbey Road On The River turned out to be hit on Saturday.

    More >>
  • Bath County teacher charged with sexual assault of 15-year-old

    Bath County teacher charged with sexual assault of 15-year-old

    Sunday, May 28 2017 11:04 PM EDT2017-05-29 03:04:31 GMT
    Andrew Couch (Source: Clark County Detention Center)Andrew Couch (Source: Clark County Detention Center)

    A middle school social studies teacher in Bath County was arrested this weekend, and accused of having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl.

    More >>

    A middle school social studies teacher in Bath County was arrested this weekend, and accused of having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly