Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo.

Otter pups have ‘healthy bill’ at Woodland Park Zoo

The Woodland Park Zoo announced Feb. 3 that the four otter pups born at the zoo received their first veterinary examination and that the pups have a “clean bill of health.”

The pups underwent the Zoo’s standard examination, which included vaccinations, assessment of overall health, measuring and weighing. The exam concluded that the pups are in good health and of the litter there are three males and one female weighing 1.3 to 1.5 pounds.

“We’re pleased to report all four pups are robust and healthy. They have fully round bellies and are within normal growth range at this age,” said Dr. Darin Collins, who administered the examination.

“All pups have healthy appetites, are gaining increased mobility and are socializing with their family members, all good signs they’re thriving.”

The four Asian small-clawed otters born were born at the zoo to otter parents, Teratai (age seven) and Guntur (age 11), last December. The parents have successfully raised two litters previously before the four.

According to the zoo, since their birth the pups have been in a maternity den out of view from the public. There are also three older sisters living in the den. The zoo states that the entire family helps out in raising the pups. “Mom nurses the newborns, and dad and older siblings provide supportive care. Occasionally, the adults go outdoors for short periods in the public exhibit but primarily spend their time indoors to focus on caring for the pups.”

“The pups are exploring their surroundings, pouncing and chewing—the first signs of playing. They’re very similar to puppies at this age. They mostly eat and sleep but will start running and chasing each other fairly soon,” said Pat Owen, Collection Manager at Woodland Park Zoo.
 
Swimming is one of the first steps the pups undergo in their development and the parents and older sisters will soon guide the pups in a shallow pool. As they learn to swim they will eventually move to a deeper, diving pool.

So when can the public expect to see the pups?

“The pups will make their debut to zoo-goers when we’re confident they can swim and safely navigate the outdoor exhibit. This could potentially happen by early March,” said Owen.
 
Otter fans interested in receiving updates on the pups, other animal and conservation news, upcoming events and special offers, can sign up for MyZooNews at www.zoo.org/signup.
 
Zoo winter hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily. For more information or to become a zoo member, visit www.zoo.org or call 206.548.2500.
 

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