Four Asian Small-clawed Otter pups, seen here with their older siblings, were born on March 23 to parents Asia and Tuan at Australia’s Perth Zoo. They've recently begun to venture out of their nest box to explore their surroundings and take a dip. The two males and two females are the third litter born at Perth Zoo in the past 12 months as part of an Australasian breeding program for the species.
The pups have begun taking swimming lessons from their four male older siblings in the afternoons. The big brothers also carry food into the nest box for the youngsters! Though the female is dominant, the males take an active role in rearing pups, including nest building, supplying food to the female and pups during weaning, and teaching the pups to swim. Senior vet, Dr. Simone Vitali, said, “This is very important to the development of the older male siblings, as well as important for the regional breeding program.”
The Asian Small-clawed Otter is the smallest of the 13 otter species, weighing just 3.5kg when fully grown. They live in streams, rivers, marshes, and rice paddies, and also along sea coasts and in mangroves. They are found in parts of India, southern China, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
See more pictures and continue reading the pups' story after the fold: