Three tiny otter cubs 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.”

Despite otters having a reputation as being cute and cuddly creatures, they’re carnivores which 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 have all 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.

The new cubs will be among a host of attractions guaranteed to delight half term visitors to the Zoo. Next week’s activities include:

• New bubble machine sessions to entertain the penguins – starting on Monday 27th October at 1.30pm
• A Halloween trail
• Daily Druckula races at 1.30pm
• A wand making workshop
• Design your own paper pumpkin competition

The climax of the week will be the ever popular Zoo Boo Halloween party on 31st October. Fancy dress is essential and this year’s theme is “Scary Fairy Tales”. Entrance by advance booking only.

Fascinating fact about Asian short-clawed otters:
Fishermen in Asia use the otters to drive fish into their nets. The otters then get some of the fish as a reward.

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