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WATCH: Otters Play The Keyboard At National Zoo

It's not exactly a scholarship to Juilliard, but the National Zoo's animal enrichment program has given a family of Asian small-clawed otters a chance to make music.

The zoo's otters got their very own keyboard and appear to have quickly moved beyond standard beginner's pieces, such as "Chopsticks," and straight on to something bolder, more expressive and individualistic. In the video above, notice the otter playing the middle of the keyboard with such apparent passion and concentration.

Zoo officials say playing music "helps the animals to work on their sight, touch and hearing," according to The Associated Press.

The otters get access to the keyboard about twice a month.

The animal enrichment program invites zoo patrons to purchase gifts — anything from art supplies and rubber balls to iPad "apps for apes" and full-sized climbing structures.

One of the zoo's orangutans is also a beneficiary of the enrichment program and is busy mastering the xylophone (see video to right).

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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