The Santa Barbara Zoo's otter pups we featured in September are nearly ready to meet the public - a November debut will soon be announced. With their tiny claws emerging and fully-opened eyes, they now to look like miniature versions of their parents. At this stage, they stay close to their parents and spend a lot of time huddling together in the den. However, they also periodically emerge to take swimming lessons in shallow water with their parents. In the wild, this species is threatened by habitat loss, hunting, and pollution.
Santa Barbara Zoo
For the first time in over 20 years, the Santa Barbara Zoo is hearing the high pitched squeals of baby Asian Small-clawed Otter pups. Eventually these otters will be among the most playful and active of baby animals, but for now they are safe and cozy in the den with their parents. Over the next three months, their eyes will fully open, their claws will emerge and they will get swimming lessons in shallow water with their parents as instructors. This vulnerable species was bred at the Santa Barbara Zoo as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquarium's (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) to ensure healthy genetic diversity for this species in North American zoos.
Many more pics and much more info below the fold
Wild Humboldt penguins are vulnerable to extinction in the wild and institutions like the Santa Barbara Zoo are working diligently to ensure that captive populations represent the most genetic diversity possible. The parents of these little chicks were carefully selected for this purpose but they also must have been an exceptionally good looking penguin couple, since these are some of the best penguin chick pictures yet!
The first pictures feature Desi, born March 16th, as a young chick and a fluffy, waddling juvenile:
See pictures of Desi's younger sibling below the fold!
The Santa Barbara Zoo's four new 4-month-old capybaras are
now out on exhibit near the courtyard as of Tuesday, March 2, 2010. This
adorable litter, consisting of 3 males and 1 female, came to the Santa
Barbara Zoo from the Alameda Park Zoo in New Mexico. Capybaras are the
world's largest rodent from Central and South America, and can grow up
to 4 feet long and 100-150 pounds! Nicknamed "swamp hogs," capybaras are
dependent on water and well adapted to it - they even have webbed feet.
Capybaras swim and dive freely and can stay submerged underwater for up
to five minutes. They also wallow in water to protect skin from hot
sun. Like all rodents, capybaras must chew and gnaw to wear down
continually growing teeth. They tend to live in groups of about 20
On June 8th the Santa Barbara Zoo welcomed its first ever Humboldt penguin chick. In this series of pictures you can watch the chick over the course of its first few weeks as veterinarians inspect it and then drop it in the bowl to be weighed, kind of like a safety seat for penguin chicks.