Otter-ly Perfect Arrival at Sussex Zoo
The Asian short-clawed otter baby born at Drusillas Park at the end of the summer has been spotted out of the nest box for the first time, taking a good look at the world outside.
The otter pup was born on 18th August and since then has spent all its time in the den, closely guarded by mum, Tara and dad, Jambi.
Unlike many species of otter, Asian short-clawed otters are very social and like to live in large family groups. They are monogamous, staying with the same partner throughout their life.
Tara was born at Drusillas in 2002 and was introduced to Jambi in 2005, after he was re-homed from Edinburgh Zoo. Since then, the pair have been inseparable, enjoying a ‘whirlpool’ romance and their own highland fling!
The latest arrival is the third litter to be raised at the zoo by the couple, following the birth of Nuri in 2008 and Akira and Koji in 2010. The whole family live together at Drusillas, with the older siblings pitching in to show the new arrival the ropes.
Short-clawed otters give birth after a gestation period of 60 days. They can have up to six babies at a time, who are born with white fur and closed eyes.
The young remain in the den for the first few weeks and both parents will participate in their care. Older siblings often remain in the group for up to six years, helping to raise the young.
Asian short-clawed otters are the smallest of the world’s thirteen different otter species, measuring just 65cm from head to tail when fully grown. As their name suggests, they are native to Asia, where populations are declining due to hunting, habitat destruction and water pollution and they are now considered a vulnerable species in the wild.