The staff at Banham Zoo are ‘otterly' delighted with the birth of two Asian Small-clawed Otter pups. The babies have recently started coming out of the den to play with their one-year-old sibling Makati, mother Tilly, and father Sam.
The two cubs were born on May 22 and are the second litter for Tilly and Sam. As experienced parents, Tilly and Sam share care of the pups are showing excellent parenting skills.
For the first eight to 10 weeks of life, Otter pups remain tucked away in the den with mom and dad. In fact, the keepers were only able to discern that Tilly had given birth when she stopped coming outside to be fed. Once the pups were heard squealing from within the nest box there was no doubt that babies had been born.
The pups are now beginning to venture out of their nest box to explore their outdoor habitat. They will soon undergo their first veterinary exam, where their genders will be determined.
In the coming weeks, Tilly and Sam will start giving swimming lessons and impart other essential skills to their offspring, just as they would in their native habitat.
The Asian Small-clawed Otter is the smallest of all Otter species. These Otters inhabit shallow, fast-flowing waters in southeast Asia and feed on crabs, snails, frogs, young birds, eggs, fish and small mammals. The species is classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Habitat destruction from farming, water pollution, hunting, and overfishing have led to a rapid decline in the Otters’ numbers in the wild. The IUCN estimates the global population of Asian Small-clawed Otters has declined by up to 30% over the last 30 years.
See more photos of the Otters below.