’Trotter takes on otters 

Athletes, furry animals and fish-filled balls — it’s going to be otter madness at the San Francisco Zoo today.

A member of the Harlem Globe­trotters will trade balls with the zoo’s river otters today. Visitors can watch the otters try their paws at basketball while the Globetrotter attempts to work any magic with the fish-filled boomer balls the otters toy with on a daily basis.

Moo Moo Evans is in town to promote the team’s games this week, and he will stop by the zoo to school the river otters Trent and Prescita on some of the team’s tricks.

The zoo’s press release said the otters would be learning new tricks from Evans, but spokeswoman Gwendolyn Tornatore said it might be the other way around.

“The otters are not going to learn any tricks, but we’re going to give them a ball and see what they do with it,” she said. “Maybe Moo Moo will learn a few tricks of his own.”

The Harlem Globetrotters are in their 84th year. The entertainers and athletes began as a competitive team, but now sign on celebrities and attract crowds with their tricks and antics.

Tornatore said today’s visitors to the zoo will be able to watch the otters and Evans play, and then will have a chance to get Evans’ autograph.

River otters regularly play with boomer balls, plastic balls with holes drilled in them. Zookeepers stuff the balls with fish so the otters “have to work to get their food.”

“They’ll really be manipulating the ball. They play and circle around it; it’s fun to watch,” she said. “We’ll see how they do with basketballs.”


If you go

Harlem Globetrotter Moo Moo Evans vs. river otters

Where: Otter display (near penguin exhibit) at the San Francisco Zoo
When: 11:30 a.m. today
Price: Included with admission to zoo
More info: www.sfzoo.org

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