For several days prior to the birth, a wild female Sea Otter had been using the protected basin of the Aquarium’s Great Tide Pool to rest from the winter storms. The night before her pup was born, just as the Aquarium closed, she was spotted slinking into the pool.
According to Monterey Bay staff, it’s rare for a healthy Sea Otter to visit the pool so frequently. The mystery was solved around 8:30 a.m. on December 20th when Aquarium staff witnessed a new pup resting on the proud new mom’s belly!
Photo Credits: Monterey Bay Aquarium
Since the event, Aquarium staff, volunteers, and visitors have made their way to watch a conservation success story take place.
Monterey Bay Aquarium will keep the public updated on this new otter family—even though mom may decide to head back out to the wild at any time. Currently though, she’s still grooming her pup and enjoying the comfort of the Great Tide Pool. Check out Monterey Bay Aquarium’s web page for further information: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/
Monty, the Asian Small-clawed Otter pup, has been eagerly exploring his exhibit at the Bronx Zoo. In an effort to keep his curiosity from getting the better of him, mom and dad are never far behind.
It has been several years since a new otter pup has inhabited the Bronx Zoo’s Jungle World. Eleven-year-old mom, Jasmine, and nine-year-old dad, Gyan, are first time parents. So far, they have been doing an outstanding job with little Monty. Keepers have been giving them plenty of privacy and time to bond, only interrupting for quick weigh-ins to check the pup’s growth.
Photo Credits: Julie Larsen Maher / WCSAside from his new desire to explore, Monty has started to eat solids and is getting better at swimming. His parents take their jobs seriously. Jasmine continues to keep his nest in order, and dad has started bringing him bits of fish.
The Asian Small-clawed Otter (Amblonyx cinerea), also known as the Oriental Small-clawed Otter, is the smallest otter species in the world. Weighing less than 5.4 kg (11.9 lbs.), the species lives in mangrove swamps and freshwater wetlands of Bangladesh, Burma, India, southern China, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The otter’s paws are its distinctive feature. The claws don’t extend beyond the fleshy end pads of its partially webbed fingers and toes, giving it a high degree of manual dexterity for feeding on mollusks, crabs and other aquatic animals.
Asian Small-clawed Otters form monogamous pairs for life. The mates can have two litters of one to six young per year, and their gestation period is about 60 days. Newborn pups are immobile, and their eyes are closed. The pups remain in their birthing dens, nursing and sleeping, for the first few weeks. They open their eyes after 40 days and are fully weaned at 14 weeks. Within 40 days, the young start to eat solid food and can swim at three months. Young otters will stay with their mother until the next litter is born. Males assist females in nest building and food procurement.
The Asian Small-clawed Otter is classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. Threats to their existence in the wild are: habitat loss, pollution, and hunting.
A boisterous, squeaky River Otter pup — orphaned last month near Oakridge, Oregon, and now living at the Oregon Zoo — has a name. The 4-month-old will be called Little Pudding, named for a tributary of Oregon’s Pudding River.
Photo Credit: Oregon Zoo
"A lot of the animals here get their names from nations or cultures associated with the species' native habitats," said Julie Christie, senior keeper for the zoo's North America area. "For the river otters, we like to choose names based on local waterways."
After narrowing their list of potential names to three choices — J.R. Papenfus and Hobson were the other two — keepers last week invited the public to vote for their favorite via the zoo website. More than 5,500 Otter fans weighed in, with Little Pudding earning around 36 percent of the votes.
The pup was alone, hungry and dehydrated when he was spotted wandering alongside a local highway. He was taken to the Chintimini Wildlife Center in Corvallis. Since the young Otter would not be able to survive in the wild without its mother, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife contacted the zoo to see if space was available once the pup's health stabilized.
Once threatened by fur trappers, North American River Otters are now relatively abundant in healthy river systems of the Pacific Northwest and the lakes and tributaries that feed them. Good populations exist in suitable habitat in northeast and southeast Oregon, but they are scarce in heavily settled areas, especially if waterways are compromised. Because of habitat destruction and water pollution, River Otters are considered rare outside the region.
Two Asian Small-Clawed Otter pups, born in early March at the Auckland Zoo, are more than eager to be exploring outside their den. ‘Kalaya’, and her brother, ‘Chet’ have been keeping staff and the rest of their otter family on their toes. The adventurous siblings have also jumped right in to swimming lessons.
Photo Credits: Brian Cairns (Image 1); Auckland Zoo (Images 2,3,4)
The Asian Small-Clawed Otter is the smallest otter species in the world. They are native to mangrove swamps and freshwater wetlands of Bangladesh, Burma, India, southern China, Taiwan, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Their maximum body length, including a twelve-inch tail, is about 28 to 39 inches (70 – 100 cm). Their weight can range from 2.2 to 11.9 lbs (1 – 5.4 kg). The paws are one of its distinctive features, the claws not extending beyond the fleshy end pads of its partially webbed fingers and toes. This feature give the otter a high degree of manual dexterity so it can use its paws to feed on mollusks, crabs and other small aquatic animals.
Asian Small-Clawed Otters are monogamous. The mates can have two litters of one to six pups per year, and the gestation period is about 60 days. The newborn pups are born toothless, practically immobile and eyes closed. The young will remain in their birthing den for the first few weeks, nursing and staying close to mom. They open their eyes after 40 days and are fully weaned at about 14 weeks. They begin swimming at about three months. Young otters will stay with the mother until the next litter is born. The father assists the mother in nest building and food procurement. Otters have a life span, in the wild, of around 11 to 16 years.
Asian Small-Clawed Otters are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. Their main threats are habitat destruction, hunting and pollution. Unfortunately, their population trend is decreasing, despite being a protected species.
The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is home to two new North American River Otters. The adorable male pups were born March 8th to six-year-old mom, ‘Brie’, and nine-year-old dad, ‘Johann’, and the cheese-tastic newborns have been named ‘Monterey’ and ‘Jack’.
Photo Credits: Jaime Alvarez (Images:1,2,4,5,6,7,8); Maria Simmons (Images:3,9)
The pups weighed about four ounces at birth and were born blind. Newborn otters don’t open their eyes till about four to five weeks of age, and they require significant care by their mother in order to survive. Due to this fact, and Brie’s previously unsuccessful attempts at rearing offspring, zoo staff installed cameras in the otter’s nest box. This has allowed keepers to monitor her pregnancy, and due to their observations, staff made the decision to pull her pups for hand-rearing.
“It is always exciting to have new babies at our zoo. Our animal staff has had remarkable success over the years in hand-rearing animals. I wish them continued success with these new otter pups and commend them for their hard work,” said County Executive Joanne M. Mahoney.
“We are very pleased to welcome Monterey and Jack and look forward to their growth and development over the next few months,” says Zoo Director Ted Fox. “Their father, Johann, is extremely energetic and a guest favorite. The eventual introduction of the pups to the otter exhibit will prove to be a very exciting time for our guests and staff.”
Monterey and Jack will be introduced to the otter exhibit at a later date. For now, the zoo intends for guests to observe feedings. While the pups are being raised behind the scenes, parents Brie and Johann can still be seen daily in the otter habitat, located in the social animal area of the zoo.
The litter consists of two females and one male, and all are yet to be named. Keepers will name two of the siblings, but they are seeking name suggestions for one of the female pups, via the Zoo’s facebook page.
This is the second litter for mother, ‘Emiko’ and father, ‘Pocket’. Both are exceptional parents, and they are taking great care of their offspring.
“Emiko and Pocket are very hands-on parents and have been displaying ideal nurturing behaviors,” said Keeper, Ian Anderson. “The pups have been in the den, to date, and we have been monitoring them via a video camera, to ensure they are growing and developing well.”
This birth of this litter continues the breeding success for the Oriental Small-Clawed Otters at the Zoo, with the first litter born to the breeding program in January 2014.
“The older siblings born in 2014 have been assisting their parents with the daily care of the pups including grooming and babysitting the new arrivals. Oriental Small-Clawed Otters are a special species and live in large families, so it is anticipated that the family will remain together for the near future,” said Ian.
The Otter pups are currently on display sporadically as they spend a lot of their time in their den. Over the coming weeks they will start to venture out with their parents and older siblings, more often, to explore their exhibit and to learn to swim.
“By the end of April we will expect to see the pups out and about more regularly in the exhibit…,” said Ian.
France’s ZooParc de Beauval is celebrating the arrival of three Asian Small-clawed Otter pups! The trio was born to female Suri, who is providing excellent care.
Photo Credit: ZooParc de Beauval
As their name implies, these Otters have short claws, which is a helpful adaptation. With short claws, they can more easily manipulate their prey, mainly crabs, mollusks, and fish.
The smallest of the world’s 13 Otter species, Asian Small-clawed Otters live in family groups. Pups remain in the nest until their eyes open at about 40 days old. Otters are not born knowing how to swim – their mothers have to teach them, often by plunging them underwater. Suri will soon introduce her pups to a life of swimming and hunting.
Asian Small-clawed Otters are native to southern China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, and are usually found near lakes, rivers, and wetlands. In parts of Southeast Asia, these Otters roam through flooded rice fields. They are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
On Friday, December 12, Shedd Aquarium, along with ABC’s Good Morning America, officially announced the name of its female rescued Southern Sea Otter pup, formerly known as ‘Pup 681’. Over 10,000 votes were tallied from the “Name the Sea Otter Pup” voting contest, which took place between Dec. 2 and Dec. 11, and the winning name is…Luna!
The announcement was made on GMA and also during a special members-only event at Shedd Aquarium. During the event, Shedd’s animal care team announced the winning name and introduced the Sea Otter pup to the exhibit for the first time. The general public will have the opportunity to meet ‘Luna’ in person in Spring 2015 at the Regenstein Sea Otter habitat in the Abbott Oceanarium at Shedd.
Currently weighing in at 11 pounds, the pup is growing quickly and successfully reaching new milestones everyday including diving, foraging for food, grooming on her own and most recently the animal care team introduced four types of seafood to her diet.
The marine mammal team at Shedd provided name choices, which reflected geographic native habitats of Southern Sea Otters, a threatened species. The name Luna is derived from Half Moon Bay, the area close to where the pup was rescued. Shedd members had an exclusive opportunity to vote on their favorite name, making Luna the official Shedd member’s choice.
An African Spotted-neck Otter pup, born on July 27, is now making a splash with its mom on display at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.
Photo Credit: Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo
Following a two-month gestation period, female Spotted-neck Otters can give birth to one to two pups at a time. Spotted-neck Otter pups are born in dens, where they remain for the first two to three months of life. When the pups are ready to venture out on their own, mom teaches them how to swim and hunt for fish.
This birth is one of only two to occur this year among a network of eight Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited institutions that house the species. There are now 22 Spotted-neck Otters within accredited zoos.
African Spotted-neck Otters—named for the distinctive blotches of cream-colored markings on their throats and chests—are native throughout central and southern Africa, primarily around Lakes Victoria and Tanganyika.
Their fully webbed feet enable them to maneuver along the river’s edge, where they hunt for fish, crab, frogs, insects, birds and mollusks. In general, Otters are regarded as indicators of a healthy aquatic ecosystem.
Though Spotted-neck Otters have an extensive range and are not currently under threat, there is concern that their population could decline due to degradation of their aquatic habitat and hunting of Otters for bushmeat.
Denver Zoo welcomed the birth of an adorable, Asian Small-Clawed Otter on August 26. The male, named ‘Jilin’ (JEE-Lin) has been under the care of mother, ‘Asha’, and father, ‘Bugsy’.
Photo Credits: Denver Zoo
Zookeepers are giving the young pup the choice to stay behind the scenes or venture into public view. Viewing of the pup may be limited for the next few weeks, but keepers expect him to be out very soon. Asha came to Denver Zoo from Smithsonian’s National Zoo in 2012. Bugsy, who arrived here in 2013, is from Zoo Atlanta. Both were born in 2005. Bugsy, who comes from a large family, is known for his caring personality. Both Asha and Bugsy have proved to be great first-time and very hands-on parents.
The name Jilin, which is also a Chinese province formerly known as Kirin, pays homage to one of Denver Zoo’s other Asian Small-Clawed Otters, ‘Barry Kirin’.
Keepers say the pup has a playful spirit. He enjoys playing with clam shells and plastic balls, hiding from mom and dad and learning to swim. Keepers say he is becoming more playful and brave as he grows older.