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VIDEO: Baby Otter Swims For the First Time, Story Behind This Long-Awaited Pup

Mother otter and 8 week old pup. March 2014
N.C. Zoo staff

It doesn't get much cuter than this. A baby otter at the North Carolina Zoo swims for the very first time:

The story behind this first swim involves 5 years of infertility, an anxious ten months, and a joyous birth day.

No baby otter had been born at the NC Zoo for 40 years. The zoo has two otters, and the keepers spent 5 years trying to get them to mate.  As time went on, it was clear that something was wrong. So, they turned to an otter specialist at the Cincinnati Zoo. Turns out, since the female river otter was born in Florida, her reproductive cycle was different from what the keepers expected.

Ten months later, the mother otter has a bouncing eight-week-old pup, and the keepers even had the luck to capture the pup's very first swim.

The pup is on exhibit now, but, as you can imagine, she keeps close to mom, so she's hard to see. In April, keepers say, she will likely be a bit more independent. Perhaps she will also have a name by then.

Carol Jackson has been with WUNC since 2006. As Digital News Editor, she writes stories for, and helps reporters and hosts make digital versions of their radio stories. She is also responsible for sharing stories on social media. Previously, Carol spent eight years with WUNC's nationally syndicated show The Story with Dick Gordon, serving as Managing Editor and Interim Senior Producer.
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