Posted on 08th May 2020 by Media Relations
Taronga Western Plains Zoo has welcomed the birth of five Oriental Small-clawed Otter pups to mum, Jafar and dad, Harry on Tuesday 28 April 2020.
The Otter pups were born during the day, with the first pup born at 10:59am and the last pup being born just before midday. Keepers watched the birth unfold via CCTV cameras that are in the nest box.
“It was really exciting to be present for the birth and be able to witness it all unfolding. Often we arrive at work and the pups have been born overnight or in the early hours of the morning, so to see it happen was really special,” said Otter Keeper, Tarryn Williams.
“Jafar had spent a lot of time in the nest box that morning and we observed a lot of nesting behaviour, then from about 10am it was obvious she was quite uncomfortable and we assumed she might be in labour.”
“It was a really proud moment for the keepers seeing how well Jafar was doing and how the other Otters in the group were responding,” said Tarryn.
This is the second litter for Jafar and Harry, who welcomed four pups last year on the 1 May.
Both Jafar and Harry are amazing parents. Jafar is much more relaxed this time round and Harry is regularly caring for the pups, grooming, toileting them and making sure they are covered in the nesting material in the nest box.
“Jafar and Harry have four extra helpers this time around too, as the pups from the previous litter take an active role in raising the pups.”
“At this stage we don’t know if the pups are males or females as we just monitor group via CCTV cameras in the nest box. There will be an opportunity to weigh the pups, determine their sex and health check them in the coming weeks,” said Tarryn.
While each litter is different, generally Otter pups eyes should open between 28 – 47 days. They will start to emerge from the nest box at around 52 days onwards and it is from this point on that they will start swimming lessons as well.