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ICE LOLLIES FOR OTTERS

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OtterAn otter pictured in Oxfordshire 
Many of us love an ice-lolly to help us cool down on a baking-hot day. Now it seems that otters will be able to enjoy the same treat. Well, almost the same - staff at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Portsmouth have come up with a recipe for lollies which they say contains most of the otter's favourite foods.

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Mat Clarke & David Waines

Otter-keeper Mat Clarke and colleague David Waines.
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Blue Reef Aquarium, Portsmouth

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James Naughtie

Will Jim be tempted by the salmon and crab flavour?.. 
Jim passes on the lolly

...Erm, perhaps not.
Otter-keeper Mat Clarke, who thought of the idea, told us his animals were becoming quite lazy in the summer heat and he decided it was time to dream up something to get them active again. "The lollies serve two purposes, to cool them down and to give them something to do, to make them work for their food," he said.

Clarke and his colleagues are already making the lollies in different flavours. One variety they brought along to our studio was made from a mixture of trout, crayfish, sweetcorn and cockles, while another combined salmon, cod, prawns, and crab, all garnished with a sprinkling of parsley.

Blue Reef's marketing manager David Waines said he wouldn't recommend that anyone tried to make the lollies for their own consumption but said that for otters they are an "absolute dream". Clarke said his otters like the crayfish lollies the best of all.

Funnily enough, our presenters Jim and Ed weren't much tempted to give the lollies a lick. Perhaps it was the fishy smell rapidly filling the studio that put them off.

Here's Mat Clarke's recipe for one of the lolly varieties.

Ingredients:

- Milk
- Water
- Whole Fresh Crayfish
- Whole Trout
- Cockles
- Sweetcorn
- Krill (Large Shrimp)

Instructions:

Mix the ingredients together and freeze them in disposable paper cups. Don't forget the all-important bamboo stick so that your otter can get a firm grip on his or her lolly!


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