In September, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo welcomed three adorable male otter pups. Now that the Asian small-clawed otters are three months old, they can explore more of their habitat and zoo visitors can follow along.
These pups were definitely worth the wait. See for yourself with this video Fox 8 News shared on Facebook. It is otter-this-world adorable!
Asian small-clawed otters are the smallest species of otters and might be the cutest. In fact, they top out at about 10 pounds — about the size of your average cat!
During the last few months, the babies stayed in the indoor part of their habitat and out of sight of zoo guests.
The zoo captured the otter babies’ first steps outside in this video shared on Facebook. Watch as the trio explored their habitat with their mom Bitzy and dad Kibble:
In the wild, Asian small-clawed otters are native to southern India, southern China, southeast Asia, Indonesia and the Philippines. As a species, they are considered vulnerable. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, deforestation, agriculture and human settlement threaten their natural habitats.
At the zoo, they live comfortably in The Rainforest area. “We offer enrichment opportunities where they can use their hands to retrieve food from inside a spiraled plate and to grab fish from within a plastic ball,” the zoo’s animal curator Tad Schoffner told Newsweek. “These enrichment items help the animals mimic action they would use in the wild to find food.”
The zoo shared more photos from the trio’s first venture outside on its Facebook page. This one is holiday-card worthy:
The babies now have access to indoor and outdoor areas. The trio can scamper around with their parents outside for excited visitors. When they’re tired, they can retreat to peace and quiet.
Additionally, these furry critters are talkative. They have at least 12 different sounds, spanning greetings to threats. So, listen up!
If the reactions on Facebook are any indication, the otter pups are already a big hit:
Some noticed how carefully the mother otter watched over the little ones. Bitzy is a first-time mom, but she’s a natural.
While many people are excited to visit, these commenters hatched a brilliant plan. They definitely won’t miss one cute move:
Get otter here!