By Yolanda Branch and Beth King
The Washington Wetland Centre has welcomed new-born quadruplet Asian short-clawed otter cubs.
The new arrivals were born on March 3 to Mimi and Musa, the Wetlands most popular otter pair.
The new-borns join their sister of 10 months, Squeak, who was born last May.
WWT Washington’s aviculture and captive animal manager Kristian Purchase said: “It’s still early days for them – they currently weigh 140g on average, have no teeth and won’t open their eyes until they reach about 40 days old so it will be a few weeks before Musa and Mimi bring them outside.
“Once again, they’re proving to be fantastic parents so we will be as hands-off as possible to let them bond and grow as a family”
Asian short-clawed otters are the smallest of all 13 otter species, weighing less than 5kg. They are commonly found in the mangrove swamps and freshwater wetlands of Bangladesh, Myanmar, India, southern China, Taiwan, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, The Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Their most distinctive feature is most certainly their claws, which do not extend beyond the fleshly end pads of their partially webbed fingers and toes – hence their name.
Ms Purchase: “It’s been fantastic to see Musa and Squeak taking care of Mimi, bringing her food and bedding.
“We’ve even witnessed Musa collecting water to pass to Mimi in what looks like a ‘kissing’ action – something I’ve never heard of in Asian short-clawed otters which is incredible. Musa has also been teaching Squeak how to be a brilliant big sister and she’s certainly stepped up to the mark”.
If you want to see the cubs you will have to wait as Gill Pipes, centre manager at the Washington Wetlands Centre, says they will be out and about by the end of May.