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Otter pit.

Live Otters in a Bank (Gone)

Field review by the editors.

Kewanee, Illinois

Oscar and Andy, two male Nearctic American river otters, have been splashing in a climate-controlled play pool in the heart of downtown Kewanee since 1991. What makes them interesting is that their concrete, water-filled pit is in the center of the Union Federal Savings and Loan.

Oscar and Andy were brought here by the bank president, who thought that live otters -- an endangered species in Illinois -- would soften the button-down image of his bank. A contest was held to name the otters, won by by Meagan Rodgers of Manlius Elementary School.

Otters in the bank.

Bank customers can peer into the pit to watch the otters splash and play with toys during normal business hours. For bank workers, there's the added bonus of big windows in the side of the pit, which offer those with desks in the basement a unique, half-submerged view. The otters are most active in the early morning. During our noontime visit, they were curled up and sleeping in a corner.

Sept. 2011: Andy the otter died a year ago, in September 2010, of old age (otters in the wild live less than 10 years; Andy made it to 20). His longtime pal, Oscar the otter, passed away in 2011. The bank's otter pool has been drained.

Live Otters in a Bank

Union Federal Savings & Loan

Union Federal Savings & Loan. Downtown, at the corner of W. 1st and Tremont Sts.

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