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.
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.
See more photos of the Otter pup below.