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Arts and Entertainment

Video: L.A. Zoo Unveils Adorable Endangered Otter Pups, Breaks Internet

Aw, giant otter pups (Photo by Tad Motoyama courtesy of the L.A. Zoo)
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Three giant otter pups recently joined a growing otter family at the L.A. Zoo, and the zoo has just unveiled the first photos and a video of the new baby residents. Be warned: hearts will melt.

The two male and one female otter pups were born on March 28, 2015, when they joined their 10-month-old siblings, who were the first to be born at the new Rainforest of the Americas habit. The habitat was designed to provide a more natural environment where the endangered species could reproduce without the threat of habitat destruction and poaching that occurs in the wild. The two litters are the first non-hand reared giant otter babies that the L.A. Zoo has ever had. Jennie Becker, Curator of Mammals at the zoo explains, "Historically, there has been a high infant mortality rate for giant otters in captivity. This could be due to a lot of different factors: stress, outside noise, or the female not being confident."

Snack time! (Photo by Tad Motoyama, courtesy of the L.A. Zoo)
The Rainforest of the Americas habit was specially designed for the giant otters with a temperature-controlled holding area ideal for newborns, multiple nest boxes for the family to rest and sleep, and a landscape with plenty of land and water space to let them move around and play. A South American mammal typically found in freshwater rivers and streams, the giant otter has dark, dense fur; a flat, oar-like tail, and webbed feet. And while giant otters are not often found in U.S. zoos, visitors to the L.A. Zoo can now see them swimming and exploring their new habitat.

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Watch the video below to see the new giant otter pups swim around, slide down a river feature, sunbathe, chow on a fishy snack brought by mom, and generally just be their adorable selves.

The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens is located at 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles. 323-644-4200. The zoo is open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $19 for adults, $14 for children ages 2 to 12.

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