Three tiny Otter cubs are melting the hearts of visitors at the United Kingdom’s Newquay Zoo after making their first public appearance this week.
Photo Credit: Newquay Zoo
Born in September, the Asian Small-clawed Otter cubs are still in the nest box, but zoo visitors can view them through a glass panel. It won’t be long before the pups begin learning to swim under the careful guidance of their parents and others in the zoo’s group of 19 Otters.
“The cubs are impossibly cute," said Newquay Zoo Director Stewart Muir. “Asian Small-clawed Otters are incredibly social animals, compared with other Otter species, so visitors will be able to watch how the cubs’ siblings play an active role in teaching them how to cope in the strange new world outside the nest."
Asian Small-clawed Otters are carnivores, and they work together to kill prey, much the same as a pride of Lions. In the wild, they hunt Snakes, Lizards, Crabs, Toads, Rodents, Quails and other birds. Their zoo diet includes ground meat and small mammals to reflect their natural food sources in the wild.
Asian Small-clawed Otters are the smallest Otter species in the world and are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Habitat destruction, water pollution and over fishing have led to a rapid decline in their numbers in Southeast Asia. The IUCN estimates the global population has declined by up to 30% over the last 30 years.