Swimming lessons for baby otter

Asian short claw otter is taught to swim at Blue Planet Aquarium

The Asian short claw otters at the Blue Planet Aquarium

A baby otter is being given swimming lessons at the Blue Planet Aquarium in Cheshire Oaks.

The Asian short claw otter, was actually born at the end of May, but it has only just begun to leave the holt and explore its outdoor enclosure, which includes a large pond.

The cubs are born blind and their eyes open for the first time after about 40 days. They begin appearing outside the holt at around seven weeks and the mother starts teaching them how to swim two to five weeks later.

Blue Planet Aquarium’s Barbora Pucikova.said: “It’s important to disturb the mother and babies as little as possible for the first few weeks after birth so it’s only recently that we have been able to get a proper look at him.

“The cub is in really good condition and is putting on weight at an enormous pace. For such aquatic mammals it’s absolutely crucial that the youngsters become comfortable in and around the water as quickly as possible.

“Roughly half of the otters’ enclosure is full of water and we need to be confident the cub can fend for itself both above and below the surface,” she added.

As their name suggests Asian short claw otters are found throughout southern Asia including India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

They are highly social and extremely intelligent mammals. In southeast Asia fishermen have trained them to drive schools of fish into their nets. The otters are put on a harness and allowed to keep any fish they catch.

Otters mate for life, with the female being the dominant partner. The life expectancy of Asian short claw otters in the wild is unknown however in captivity, they can live to at least 12 with some animals living beyond their 20th birthdays.

 

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