Otter pups learn to swim at Oregon zoo

- Two otter pups at the Oregon Zoo learned to swim recently, and it is pretty darn cute. 

While they may be naturally buoyant, the two otter pups, Tucker and Nellie, needed plenty of help learning to swim when they first started to take the plunge in April.

Tucker and Nellie are North American River Otters that were born in February and had only just started taking to the water, keeper Celess Edinger said in a statement from the zoo.

Footage shows the pups’ mother Tilly encouraging Tucker into the water and lifting him by the teeth to stay afloat.

“It might look a bit rough to a casual observer,” Edinger said. “Tilly grabs them by the scruff of their necks and dunks them in the water. But that’s natural river otter behavior. It’s how they learn to swim.”

Once threatened by fur trappers, North American river otters are now considered rare throughout most of the U.S. due to habitat destruction and water pollution. They are relatively abundant in healthy river systems of the Pacific Northwest though, and are frequently observed in local waterways.

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