This might be the first time our four male otter pups have done something that can be classified as “swimming” outside.
|A tiny pup goes for a swim. Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.|
We've seen them dip into the smaller pools in their exhibit, as well as one we keep for them behind the scenes, and they've flopped into the running water outside a few times, not always intentionally. But on Tuesday morning, we watched the family of Asian small-clawed otters head into the large pool in their exhibit and splash around outside for their first real swim together.
|A parent is always watching over the pups. Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.|
The pups pushed out into the pool with mom Teratai and dad Guntur joining them, watching intently. The boys stuck close to the pool’s edge near the reeds, which offered them something to grab onto and a way to pull themselves out if swim time got too overwhelming for them.
|Keeping close to the reeds and pool's edge. Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.|
All went well, though the swim session didn't last too long. Having more and more of these positive, confidence-building experiences is important for the pups and their protective parents to ease them all into their outdoor lives together.
|A parent and pup dry off after swimming. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.|
After swim time came wet pup time. You know how your wet dog has a knack for rubbing itself all over your couch and carpet? That’s what our wet otters did—except in their case they rubbed themselves all over logs and rolled around in the dirt. This helps them dry off and get their insulating fur back in order.
|Wet otter pup. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.|
The otter family continues to have access to their exhibit daily. We let them explore outdoors at their own pace, so while they have access, they may choose to head indoors at times. We are now streaming a live video feed of their behind-the-scenes den to the kiosk out on exhibit. So even if you see the otters run back inside, you might still be able to get a peek behind the scenes at what they are up to back there!