The five Asian Small-clawed Otter pups born at Zoo Dortmund on November 5th and 6th are hungrier than ever! Since they aren’t nearly as good at digging for black beetle larvae in the bark mulch as their parents Kon and Malou, they try to steal the larvae that Kon and Malou have found directly from their front paws or from their mouths. This behavior can also be seen in adult small-clawed otters, which, in contrast to other otters, are very sociable animals. They live in family groups that can consist of a pair and the offspring of several litters. Family members often seek intensive physical contact with one another, clean each other and also sleep snuggled together in their living and sleeping den. Even if Kon and Malou leave the odd larva to their offspring, as can be seen in this video, they do not always give in to the begging of the pups and enjoy most of the insects themselves.
The pups are still pretty well off though, because they still feed mainly on their mother's milk, even if they already have a healthy appetite for solids! Adolescent dwarf otters are suckled by their mother for about four to five months.
Video and text: Marcel Stawinoga / @zoolotse