A FAMILY of otters at the Blue Planet Aquarium enjoyed their own kind of snow day with the help of keepers.

Staff at the Cheshire Oaks attraction built snowmen in the Asian short-claw otters’ outdoor enclosure, using mussels for eyes.

The shellfish, some of the otters’ favourite treats, proved irresistible to the mammals, who braved the arctic weather to give their new neighbours a very close inspection.

Blue Planet Aquarium assistant curator Andrea Swatman said: “Otters are highly intelligent and also extremely inquisitive.

“Our family had hardly ventured outside since the snow started falling, but the arrival of the mysterious snowmen was just too much and they had to come out and investigate.

“The fact they contained mussels was an added bonus and it wasn’t long before they were literally all over them.”

She added: “As well as being a bit of fun, the mussels also provide the otters with some great mental stimulation as well as encouraging them to use their natural foraging habits and dexterity to open the shellfish up.”

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

And, unlike most otters, their front feet are only partly webbed and have short claws used for digging under rocks and in the mud.

These special adaptations make them particularly dexterous and you can often see them ‘juggling’ or playing with rocks and pebbles.