Two Asian small-clawed otter cubs have been born at Banham Zoo and are expected to enthral visitors to the East Anglian zoo in the coming months with their playful antics.
The two healthy cubs were born on the 19th July to female, Tilly and male, Sam and despite both being first-time parents, according to their keepers they are showing excellent parenting skills, sharing the daily care of the cubs.
Otter parents prefer to keep their cubs safely tucked away from prying eyes in their nest box for the first 8 – 10 weeks after they are born and keepers were only able to confirm the birth when the parents did not come out for food and they started to hear the cubs calling from inside the box.
The cubs have recently been examined by their keepers and the zoo’s vets and have confirmed that they are two healthy boys, they are now beginning to venture out of their nest box as they explore their outside enclosure.
Otters are incredibly sociable animals and over the coming weeks their parents will start to introduce swimming lessons to the range of skills they need to survive, just as they would in their native habitat.
The Asian small-clawed otters is the smallest of all otter species and are one of three species known as the clawless otters. The otters inhabit shallow, fast flowing waters in Southeast Asia and in the wild have a varied diet of crabs, snails, frogs, young birds, eggs, fish and small mammals. The species is classed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Habitat destruction from palm oil farming, water pollution, hunting and over fishing have all led to a rapid decline in their numbers in the wild. The IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) estimates the global population has declined by up to 30% over the last 30 years.