Baby Otters At Newquay Zoo - Tuesday 28th October 2014

Otter-ly adorable new arrivals at Newquay Zoo! Three tiny otter pups are melting the hearts of visitors to Newquay Zoo this week after making their first public appearance since their birth six weeks ago. The Asian short-clawed otter cubs are still in the nesting box but can be seen through a glass panel at certain times of the day, particularly at grooming time. They will be out and about in the Oriental Garden enclosure over the coming weeks, taking swimming lessons under the expert tutelage of their parents and other otters in the 19-strong group. Newquay Zoo Director Stewart Muir says: "The cubs are impossibly cute so we do hope people will come along and watch their progress over the next few weeks. "Asian short-clawed otters are incredibly social animals, compared with other otter species, so visitors will be able to watch how the cubs' siblings play an active role in teaching them how to cope in the strange new world outside the nest." Many sea otters are known to hold hands in groups - called a raft - while they eat, sleep and rest, to prevent families losing each other whilst in the sea. But, despite their reputation as cute and cuddly creatures, they're carnivores who are as adept at working together to kill their prey as a pride of lions. In the wild, they hunt all kinds of animals including: snakes, lizards, crabs, toads, rodents, quails and other birds. Their varied diet at the Zoo includes ground meat and small mammals to reflect their natural food source in the wild. Asian short-clawed otters are the smallest otter species in the world and are classed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Habitat destruction, water pollution and over fishing has led to a rapid decline in their numbers in the wild. The IUCN estimates the global population has declined by up to 30% over the last 30 years. A fascinating fact about Asian short-clawed otters: fishermen in Asia use the otters to drive fish into their nets. Th - Newquay Cornwall United Kingdom - Tuesday 28th October 2014 (3 images)

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