When rain falls in Florida, where does it go and what amazing animals does it support?
Find out by visiting Mote's Watershed Exhibit, where you'll discover playful river otters, beautiful pink birds called roseate spoonbills, iconic alligators, a gopher tortoise, and more.
Get ready for a slice of real Florida in all its wild beauty as we follow the journey of fresh water moving from land to sea.
The Watershed Exhibit includes our North American river otters, an American alligator, two roseate spoonbills and a gopher tortoise.
Meet the animals!
Huck, Pippi and Jane the North American river otters:
Rose the American alligator:
Rose came to us from the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. She was born in 2011. American alligators can be found in the freshwater or swampy areas of the watershed. They can only tolerate salt water for a short time, as they lack the glands to secrete excess salt. Fun fact: alligators replace their teeth as they wear down and can go through 3,000 teeth in a lifetime! Also, during mating season in April and May, you may hear Rose bellowing, which is how alligators call out to their mates.
Cuchara and Tenedor the roseate spoonbills:
Both spoonbills hatched in 2018 in human care. Cuchara came to Mote from Florida Aquarium and Tenedor from the Cameron Park Zoo in Texas. They were selected as a breeding pair as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP). Their names mean "spoon" and "fork" in Spanish.
Pepito the gopher tortoise:
Pepito was born in 2016 and came to us from the Miami Zoo. The animal care team voted to name our tortoise Pepito, which means "nugget" in Spanish. At this young age, we are unable to determine the gender of our gopher tortoise, but in the future, external characteristics such as plastron (lower shell) shape and tail size should tell us whether Pepito is male or female.
Plan your visit
The Watershed Exhibit is located in Mote Aquarium's Ann & Alfred E. Goldstein Marine Mammal Research & Rehabilitation Center, just down the street from the entrance to Mote Aquarium.