Baby river otter learning to swim at zoo - KPTV - FOX 12

Baby river otter learning to swim at zoo

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Photo: Oregon Zoo Photo: Oregon Zoo
Photo: Oregon Zoo Photo: Oregon Zoo
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

At just two months old, Mo (short for Molalla River) is learning to swim at the Oregon Zoo.

The baby river otter took his first dip in the Zoo's Cascade Stream and Pond last week, but not without a lot of help from his mother.

Believe it or not, swimming doesn't come natural to river otter pups. Zookeeper Becca Van Beek said otters need swim lessons to learn how to stay afloat, just like humans.

"It might look kind of scary to a casual observer," Van Beek said. "She'll grab Mo by the scruff of the neck and dunk him in the water. But that's a very natural behavior. Baby otters are extremely buoyant, so Mo has built-in water wings for his swim lessons."

River otters are very dependent on their mothers when they're born. It's usually three to five weeks before young otters open their eyes, and about five weeks before they first walk.

Mo weighed just 4 ounces at birth, but he has been growing fast and is almost 5 pounds now.

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