When most people think of nests, they think of birds. Do you know that otters make nests every day?
Our Asian Small-clawed Otters love to build nests. They not only make nests to provide a comfortable place to rest for the night, but to feel very secure while sleeping. As keepers, we try and make sure the otters’ natural behaviours are encouraged so we provide them with a variety of different large leaves and branches. Each night they drag the branches into their nest box, a large box that all of the otters can comfortably fit into. They’ll break and bend them and fuss about until they are satisfied that they’ve done a great job. If there is already a previously made nest from the night before, they’ll just build on top of it.
We give our otters access to their exhibit and dens over-night, so they can go for a mid-night swim if they choose and then come back to the nest in their dens. It’s their choice!
In the wild, the otters live in dense vegetation near water and sleep amongst the thickets. It is here, that the otters breed, and use the nests to provide a safe haven for their young, known as pups. It is also a protected place for the whole family to call home. Otters learn a lot by watching the behaviours of their family. Nest building is a learned behaviour and a skill that some enjoy more than others, but this one activity that they can all participate in if they choose.
So, otters are another mammal, along with Orang-utans and Sun Bears that prepare beautiful nests....it’s not just for the birds!
Taronga’s Asian Small-clawed Otters are proudly sponsored by LANXESS .
- Lesley Small, Otter Keeper
Taronga Zoo, Media Relations
(02) 9978 4606
Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Media Relations
(02) 6881 1400
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