Baby Otter Swim Lessons
May 20, 2010
Surprising fact: baby otters actually need to be taught how to swim! Not so surprising fact: the process is obscenely adorable! In March we brought you incredible pictures of the Columbus Zoo's newest baby otter kits. Now we bring you wonderful video of mama otter teaching those same pups how to swim and some great additional photos.
Photo and video credits: Grahm S. Jones
Read the otterly adorable details below the fold, courtesy of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
In March, Audrey, the Zoos North American river otter female, gave birth to three healthy male pups. At around 30 days old, the pups are strong enough to begin their swimming lessons although sometimes, theyre not the most enthusiastic students much like kids everywhere.
But Audrey is a good mom and a patient, persistent teacher. She teaches each pup individually at first this allows her to focus her full attention on each pup and each lesson especially since its the first time the pups have been in the water. Audrey teaches the pups in stages making sure each pup is comfortable with one step before moving on to the next.
Typically, Audrey eases her pup into the water, then teaches him to float. After floating comes swimming, and the pups learn how to maneuver and swim, skills that are vital to their survival as adults. Once the pup is confident as a swimmer, Audrey teaches him to dive and move underwater. Then, she teaches each pup how to dry off and stay warm after a dip in the pool.
As anyone whos been swimming knows, swimming is exhausting! So once the pups lesson is over, Audrey carefully carries the little one back to the den where they immediately nap and get some much needed rest.
Before long, the pups are confident swimmers and well on their way to becoming the expert swimmers that all otters seem to be. And, once the pups are venturing out of the den and swimming well, Audrey will begin the group swimming lessons. Its a sight to behold and, often, simply too adorable for words.
The North American river otter habitat at the Zoo is now reopened to the public. Be sure to stop by on your next visit and you might be lucky enough to see Audrey teaching her pups the essentials of being an otter!