Posted on 30th August 2019 by Media Relations
Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s Oriental Small-clawed Otter pups are growing fast and are now four months old.
The Otter pups have recently passed their final health check and vaccination and now weigh over 1kg each.
“We are really pleased with the pups’ progress so far. Their parents are doing a great job, sharing the role of raising and caring for the pups and bringing them food,” said keeper, Tarryn Williams.
“Dad is definitely the most attentive but we have been observing both parents showing the pups how to build a nest,” said Tarryn.
The Otter pups are now eating the same food as their mum and dad and have learnt how to swim.
“Otter pups aren’t born with swimming skills but are instead taught by their parents, when they feel it is time for the pups to learn.”
Swimming lessons for an Otter generally involve one of the parents taking a pup into the water and helping them if they get into trouble.
“After an initial introduction to the water the pups will then follow mum into the water on their own accord once they are ready,” said Tarryn.
From four months onwards the pups will be honing their skills in hunting and foraging. Keepers are observing them chasing and wrestling each other and playing with rocks which is believed to help with their dexterity.
“Being a small-clawed Otter they rely heavily on their sense of touch to catch prey so dexterity is really important.”
A great time to see the Otter family during the school holidays is at the keeper feeds at 10:30am and 2.25pm daily.
“The Otter family are now coming out of their den throughout the day but are often most active in the afternoon. This is usually when we see them in the pond swimming,” said Tarryn.
Otter pups are considered to be adults at around one year of age, however they can reach their full size in the months prior as each individual otter is different.