A pair of Asian short-clawed otters have been ‘otterly inseparable’ since being introduced to each other by keepers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo two weeks ago.
Six-year-old Ernie and two-year-old Carol arrived from separate UK collections as part of a breeding programme for the vulnerable species, with keepers hopeful they will produce young soon.
Since arriving, two otters have been busy getting to know each other and exploring their new Otter Island home, which has a flowing stream and lush riverbanks for the pair to play in.
Team leader Graeme Williamson said: “We carefully introduced Ernie and Carol to each other in their separate crates as soon as they arrived and they clearly took an instant liking to each other – when we checked on them the following morning we found them snoozing together, snuggled up in their den.
“They’ve been very happy together ever since, so hopefully we’ll hear the pitter-patter of tiny paws very soon!”
The Asian small-clawed otter – also known as the oriental small-clawed otter – is a semiaquatic mammal native to South and Southeast Asia and is the smallest otter species in the world.
Lucky visitors will be able to spot the new otters during pre-booked trips to the UK’s largest zoo this summer. For further information go to www.zsl.org