Otter

Long-Awaited Otter Pups Born at Taronga Zoo

DSC_0241After a 10-year wait, keepers at Australia’s Taronga Western Plains Zoo are thrilled with the birth of two male Oriental Small-clawed Otter pups on January 24.

Otter family_MQ_9.4.14
DSC_0243
DSC_0250Photo Credit:  Taronga Zoo

This is the first offspring for the mother, Emiko, and the father, Pocket.  Both parents are displaying ideal nurturing behaviours. “Emiko and Pocket are being really attentive parents, we are really happy with their nurturing behaviors, as they are both first-time parents so it is a big learning curve for them,” said Senior Keeper Ian Anderson.

According to keepers, Pocket is very paws-on with parenting.  He helped Emiko build the nest before the pups' birth and now helps provide food and care for the growing pups. 

The zoo had been trying to successfully breed Oriental Small-clawed Otters for the past ten years. “We had tried a number of different pairings during this time but finally got the right match with Emiko and Pocket,” Anderson said. 

Read more and see more photos below.

Continue reading "Long-Awaited Otter Pups Born at Taronga Zoo" »


Rescued Otter Pups Get Emergency Care at Taipei Zoo

1 otter

Thanks to inter-agency cooperation, two rescued Eurasian Otter pups are getting the emergency care they need at Taipei Zoo in Taiwan. The abandoned pups arrived recently from Kinmen National Park and are being bottle-fed around the clock by staff at the zoo. In Taiwan, Eurasian Otters are a rare and protected species.

3 otter

6 otter

5 otterPhoto credit: Taipei Zoo

See video of the otter pups:

 

An initial veterinary checkup found that the babies are both male and are about a month old. Their eyes are still closed, but their canine teeth are starting to grow in. They are being cared for in shifts, with frequent feedings and belly massages to stimulate bowel movements. 

See and read more after the fold.

Continue reading "Rescued Otter Pups Get Emergency Care at Taipei Zoo" »


Otter Pups Take It Outside!

1503310_10152275027462708_1912724229_nFour Asian Small-clawed Otter pups born at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo in January have finally taken their first steps outdoors – despite the protests of their overprotective dad, Guntur.

The four pups—three females and one male—have had only a few tiny adventures outdoors so far. Though the pups step outside their den for only a few minutes at a time, the good news is that dad seems to be getting more comfortable each time. 

1975256_10152275027442708_279827921_n
971196_10152275027472708_938194052_n

10156127_10152275027362708_1098596304_n
Photo Credit:  Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo

You first met the pups on ZooBorns a few weeks ago. Now two-and-a-half-months old, the Otter pups have a lot to learn about the world outside their den.  Luckily they have their 4-year-old mom Teratai, 8-year-old dad Guntur, and four older brothers to show them the ropes.  In these photos, you can see the pups getting help scaling walls, navigating waterways, and getting a friendly nuzzle on the neck.

Asian Small-clawed Otters are native to waterways in Southeast Asia.  The smallest of the world’s Otter species, they weigh only about 11 pounds (5 kg) as adults.  They feed on small crustaceans and mollusks.  Due to habitat destruction, Asian Small-clawed Otters are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

See more photos of the Otter pups below.

1908286_10152275028062708_1670580756_n
10150674_10152275027382708_1321918343_n
10151989_10152275027377708_1652960731_n


Two Tiny Otters Grow Behind the Scenes at Auckland Zoo

1 otter

Great news: two Asian Small-clawed Otter pups were born at Auckland Zoo in New Zealand! The parents are resident otters Jeta and Juno. Because Jeta is a first-time mother, keepers have been carefully making sure that they have as much peace and quiet as possible. 

The pups are just over a month old, and their sex is still unknown at this point. They were weighed last week, and they’re now .97 pounds (440 g) and one pound (461 g). They been growing steadily, putting on about .2 pounds (100 g) a week.

2 otter

3 otter

4 otterPhoto credit: Auckland Zoo

Asian Small-clawed Otters are listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List.  They are found in the countries of India, Indonesia, Vietnam, South China, Malay Peninsula, the Philippines,  living in freshwater streams, rivers, and creeks as well as coastal regions, often near dense foliage. They are the smallest of the world's 13 otter species. 


Otter Pups Are a First for Buffalo Zoo

IMG_1644Two separate litters of North American River Otters were born at the Buffalo Zoo in early March – the first Otters ever born at the zoo.

IMG_1641
008
1503938_10152082093433995_1894135302_nPhoto Credit:  Melissa King

Nine-year-old sisters Daisy and Ellie are first-time mothers.  The father of both litters is a seven-year-old North American River Otter named Rascal, who arrived at the Buffalo Zoo in 2012 from the Trevor Zoo in Millbrook, NY.

Both Daisy and Ellie are proving to be attentive mothers and are behind the scenes in their dens. The pups are still too small to be on exhibit, but zoo officials expect them to be outdoors within a few weeks.

Agile swimmers, North American River Otters are native to rivers and streams throughout the eastern and western United States and Canada.  In the 20th century, River Otters were extirpated from parts of their range due to habitat loss. In other areas, Otters are plentiful enough to allow trapping.   Reintroduction programs have relocated otters and reestablished populations in areas where Otters had been eliminated.

See more photos below.

Continue reading "Otter Pups Are a First for Buffalo Zoo" »


First Check-up for Otter Pups at Woodland Park Zoo

1 otter

Four new otter pups at Woodland Park Zoo in Washington just received a clean bill of health during their first hands-on wellness exam. The Asian Small-clawed Otter pups—three females and one male—were born to 4-year-old mother Teratai (pronounced tear-a-tie) and 8-year-old father Guntur (pronounced goon-toor) on January 20.

The zoo’s newest additions underwent a thorough neonatal exam to check their ears, eyes, mouths and overall development. Each of the otter pups just barely tipped the scales at 1.2-1.5 pounds (about .5-.7 kg), a healthy size for their 8-week-old frames. Exam results indicate all four pups are growing healthily as expected.

4 otter

2 otter

5 otterPhoto credit: Ryan Hawk / Woodland Park Zoo

See a video of the pups' first swimming lesson:

 

“Since their birth, the parents and four brothers, born last summer, have all pitched in to build their den nest, provide support and, most recently, teach the pups to swim in a behind-the-scenes pool,” said Pat Owen, a collection manager at Woodland Park Zoo. “The family has been busy introducing the pups to their new environment, and the pups are adjusting very well.”

See more photos and story after the fold.

Continue reading "First Check-up for Otter Pups at Woodland Park Zoo" »


Help Name Binghamton Zoo's Otter Triplets!

1 otter

The Binghamton Zoo has announced the birth of three North American River Otter pups, born on March 1!

The pups were born to Elaine and Leroy, the resident otters who have been at the zoo since 2007. The pups weigh in at about .5 pounds each (180-232 g). It is hard to determine their sexes due to their size and age.

A naming contest for the three otter pups will take place until April 3. Submit your ideas here

2 otter

3 otter

4 otterPhoto credit: Binghamton Zoo

Female otters give birth, nurse, and care for their young in a den prepared by the mother. They are born with fur, but are otherwise helpless. Elaine has been a wonderful mother and has been taking care of them since birth. When they get older, they will get a swimming lesson from mom.

The last time the pair had a pup was in 2010, when they had their firstborn, Emmett, who is now at the Downtown Aquarium in Denver, Colorado.

The three otter pups will stay at the Binghamton Zoo through the summer and into the fall, when at the decision of the North American Species Survival Plan management committee, they will go to other zoos to become the foundation of new breeding pairs.

Learn more after the fold.

Continue reading "Help Name Binghamton Zoo's Otter Triplets!" »


River Otter Pups For Pueblo Zoo!

1621925_10151908597661744_9721716_n

Three North American River Otter pups were born Monday, March 3, 2014 at the Pueblo Zoo. Keepers were able to get close enough on March 6 to weigh and sex the pups. The zoo confirms there are two females and one male! Judging by their healthy initial weights, the pups seem to be nursing well - 145g (boy), 135g (girl), 155g (big girl!). 

1922419_10151908597816744_102141490_n

1901288_10151908598346744_276627707_n

988785_10151908598276744_388425624_n

1185053_10151908597976744_345712566_n

1978697_10151908597806744_1379004906_n

The pups are currently off exhibit and zookeepers and staff are giving the new family their space. It may be several weeks to more than a month before they are ready to make a public appearance. Their first official wellness exam was Monday. Stay tuned for more updates!


Tiny Otters Weigh In at Perth Zoo

2 otter

Four new members of the world’s smallest otter species – the Asian Small-clawed Otter – have made their public debut at Perth Zoo in Western Australia. The four pups were born on December 27 and a few days ago had their first medical checkup with veterinary staff to weigh, sex, microchip, vaccinate and examine their general health.

The vets identified two females and two males ranging in size from 1.14 pounds (520 g) to 1.23 pounds (560 g). Asian Small-clawed Otters weigh only about eight pounds (3.5 kg) when fully grown. 

The pups have recently started learning how to swim. At this age, the parents carry the pups out of the nest box and into the pool, and then carry them back inside again – but the pups will soon start venturing out by themselves.

3 otter

1 otter

4 otterPhoto credit: Perth Zoo

Perth Zoo Chief Executive Susan Hunt said the tiny pups are part of an Australasian breeding program to help protect a species that is threatened in the wild.

“The otters at Perth Zoo have now had 16 otter pups, which is four litters in the past two years. These latest pups are the third litter for parents Asia and Tuan,” Hunt said.

Asian Small-clawed Otters are native to parts of India, southern China, Malaysia and Indonesia. They are highly social animals who pair for life. Males play a critical role rearing the pups, including nest building, swimming lessons and supplying food. Older siblings also take a role in the care of new pups and two older sisters are currently helping rear the new babies.

See and read more after the fold.

Continue reading "Tiny Otters Weigh In at Perth Zoo" »


UPDATE: Ziggy the Otter Learns to Swim at Oregon Zoo

011714_Ziggy-26

Ziggy, a two-month-old North American River Otter at the Oregon Zoo, is living up to his name as he learns to swim with the help of his mom, Tilly.

ZiggySwimLesson
011714_Ziggy-17
011714_Ziggy-25
Photo Credit:  Shervin Hess, courtesy Oregon Zoo

 
The pup, born November 8 and named after Oregon’s Zigzag River, is growing into his name, keepers say — zigging this way and that and scampering away from his mom, Tilly, when she tries to lead him indoors.  “He’s a little motorboat,” said senior keeper Julie Christie. 

“Otter pups are very dependent on their mother and they don’t know how to swim right away,” said Christie. “The mother actually has to teach them.”

Tilly is experienced in giving swim lessons – Ziggy’s older brother Molalla, nicknamed Mo, learned to swim under her tutelage just last year. 

Recently Tilly has been offering similar instruction to Ziggy, nudging her new pup to the water’s edge and then plunging in with a firm grip on the scruff of his neck, just as Otter moms do in the wild.

“Tilly has been teaching Ziggy to do some deep dives,” Christie said. “Otter pups are very buoyant, so it takes them a little bit to learn how to go underwater.”

Both of Ziggy’s parents — mom, Tilly, and dad, B.C. — are rescue animals who had a rough start to life.

Tilly was found orphaned in 2009. She was about 4 months old, had been wounded by an animal attack and was seriously malnourished. Once her health had stabilized, Tilly came to the Oregon Zoo.   B.C. was also orphaned in 2009 and after being taken in by the Little Rock Zoo, moved to Oregon as a companion for Tilly.

North American River Otters are relatively abundant in healthy river systems in parts of their range, but were extirpated (locally extinct) in many areas of the United States in the 20th century.  Thanks to reintroduction programs, Otters have been reestablished in several states.