These adorable African spotted-neck otter pups debuted at the Monterey Bay Aquarium early last year. While it might be old news, we couldn't help but sharing these ridiculous little guys.
Jan 27, 2007
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is thrilled to announce the birth of its first mammals. Two freshwater African spotted-necked otter pups – which will be introduced to visitors when Wild About Otters special exhibition opens on March 31 – were born on November 3 at an off-site aquarium facility.
The 11-week-old pups are in good health, are gaining weight and are being raised by their mother, said Michelle Jeffries, the aquarium’s associate curator of mammals.
“They’re absolutely captivating, I can’t help but smile when watching them,” she said.
The parents of Kazana (Swahili for “to busy oneself”) and Ajabu (“surprise”) are Neema and Denny, two of the 10 freshwater otters that will be the stars of Wild About Otters.
Neema and Denny, on loan to Monterey Bay Aquarium from the San Diego Zoo for the exhibition, have raised three other pups together since 2002. This litter marks the first time Neema has given birth to two pups and the first time she’s had female pups. Her past three litters have consisted of single male pups.
“We wanted to be sure the pups would survive before sharing them with the world,” said Jeffries, “especially since this is Neema’s first time raising two pups.”
In the wild, females typically do most of the pup rearing, with a normal litter consisting of one to three pups.
The first several months are critical in assuring a pup’s survival. At three to four weeks old, African spotted-necked pups’ eyes and ears open; up until that point they rely only on their sense of smell to find their mother. At two months, the pups begin to learn how to swim and the mother starts teaching them how to hunt.
By three to four months, river otter pups are weaned and rely on solid foods for their energy and