JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (FOX 13) - For the first time in years, a baby otter was born at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.
Zoo officials announced the birth of “Scotter,” an Asian small-clawed otter, which is the smallest of the 13 otter species. They said Scotter was born on November 14, but waited to publicly announce its birth to make sure the little one was healthy.
The tiny otter was born to first-time parents, Carlisle and Harley. Its birth was the first for the zoo since they debuted the species in 2014. It weighed only 3 ounces when born, but is now 18 ounces.
In a news release, Jacksonville zoo officials said the otter species are slow developers. More than a month after its birth, Scotter is just beginning to open its eyes.
“In fact, they are so slow to develop, staff has yet to determine the pup’s gender,” officials said in the media release.
Since birth, the busy parents have been grooming and nest building behind-the-scenes. The next step is to teach the pup how to swim. Scotter may enter a larger exhibit in several weeks. Until then, the zoo will share updates on its milestones on social media.
Asian small-clawed otters are usually found in Southeast Asia, and are considered to be “vulnerable” species. Their populations are threatened by habitat loss for palm oil production.