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Springfield zoo welcomes three otter pups

Otter pup at Henson Robinson Zoo
Hilary Tierney

The Henson Robinson Zoo has 3 new residents — otter pups. The animal care staff discovered the new additions during their morning checks. Both parents, Bobby, father, and Noodle, mother, were observed to be attentive and playing their parts as otter parents of the three pups, meaning Dad is a silent observer.

The sex is undetermined currently as staff is giving the family unit time to acclimate and bond. Animal care staff will continue to monitor the newborns to ensure they are being well cared for by their mother. Pups were inspected by the Zoo Director and Zookeepers and weights were taken.

North American river otters are semi-aquatic mammals, with long, streamlined bodies, thick tapered tails, and short legs. They have wide, rounded heads, small ears, and nostrils that can be closed underwater. The fur is dark brown to almost black above and a lighter color underneath. It is dense and soft, effectively insulating these animals in water. North American river otters occur throughout Canada and the United States.

River otters can tolerate a variety of environments, including cold and warmer latitudes and high elevations. They seem to be sensitive to pollution and disappear from areas with polluted waters. River otters are born swimmers….well not quite. At about two months they will be encouraged to take the plunge. NA River Otters can hold their breath for up to 8 minutes and dive up to 60 ft!

The zoo season opens April 6.

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