The namesake sea lions are the undisputed stars of Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island, the long running show at SeaWorld Orlando that shuts down on August 10 to make way for a brand-new offering in 2015, but there's one furry little critter who often upstages them.
If you've ever seen the show, you've no doubt chuckled at the antics of Opie the Otter, the little map stealing bandit who streaks across the stage. He's small, but he has a powerful presence that wins the hearts of the audience. After all, what's cuter than a furry little otter?
Click the video accompanying this article to meet Opie for yourself and learn about some of the challenges of training an otter to perform in a show. Unlike the larger animals, otters have a short attention span. Fortunately, they respond to positive reinforcement, especially when it's coupled with doing their natural behaviors. Even though they're not very good at staying on task for long periods of time, they can learn short tricks based on what they naturally enjoy doing. Even though he doesn't get a lot of face time, Opie's spirited performances always delight the guests.
There are actually around 12 otters who perform the role of Opie. Although it's not confirmed that he'll be in the new 2015 show, hopefully his popularity will win him another role alongside the sea lion stars.
If you'd like to learn how the sea lions are trained, go here for a video demonstration or jump to this article for a slideshow. Want to see some photos of Opie and his other animals friends? Go here. Winston Walrus, who also appears in the show, is also quite talented. Go here for a video of walrus antics.