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Giant Otters Start Out Small at Zoo Miami

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Zoo Miami is home to a new litter of highly endangered Giant Otters!  The two male pups were born on December 19 and are currently in a secluded den off of exhibit being raised by their mother, Kara and their father Witoto.  Kara was born at the Philadelphia Zoo and Witoto is on loan from the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Natural Resources in Brazil.  This is the fifth successful litter produced by this pair at Zoo Miami.

At nearly 5 weeks old, the two pups are just now beginning to open their eyes and will remain in the den for the next several weeks prior to being introduced to their exhibit. 

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Though they are only about two feet (60 cm) long and weigh approximately four pounds (.9 kg) at this time, they may grow to be nearly six feet (1.8 m) long and weigh close to 75 pounds (34 kg) as adults.  Commonly called 'River Wolves' in their native habitat, Giant Otters are found in isolated and remote areas within some fresh water lakes, rivers, creeks, and reservoirs of tropical South America.  Their numbers have been drastically reduced due to fur hunting and habitat destruction.  In the wild, they feed mainly on fish, but have also been known to eat caiman and snakes.  They are highly social and can be found in family groups of 10-12 animals with a lifespan of approximately 12 years in the wild and up to 21 years in captivity.