“Otterly” adorable is how zoo staff describes our first babies of the year! Although still too young to make a public appearance, the Lee Richardson Zoo is excited to announce the birth of three otter pups. The trio was born February 9th to river otters Ariel and Liwanu. The pups are doing well under the watchful eye and excellent care of their mother, and the litter represents the first successful birth of otters at LRZ. Although we are all very excited about the babies, we have given mom some much-needed privacy by limiting all but essential keeper visits to deliver food for the mother.
Staff is monitoring the family via a remote camera mounted above her den. Since otters are solitary in the wild, males don’t help with rearing of the young, so Liwanu was transferred to another holding area prior to the birth to reduce stress on the mother.
Since their birth, the pups have tripled in size. Rather like chubby canine puppies, they are not very mobile yet and are content to remain inside with mom in a cozy straw nest. Amazingly they will learn to swim soon after they begin walking, with their first swimming lesson at approximately 40 days of age.
Since the pups are not ready to go on display yet, and since mom is reluctant to leave them for long enough to swim, we are taking advantage of this time to complete some repairs on the unused pool before the family makes their grand debut. When Ariel lets us know they are ready, we will be sure to pass it along.