2014_otter_pups_1March 18, 2014 – The Binghamton Zoo is proud to announce the birth of North American river otter triplets, born on March 1, 2014.

The two and a half week old pups were born to Elaine and Leroy, the resident otters who have been at the zoo since 2007. The last time they had a pup was in 2010, when they gave birth to their first born, Emmett, who is now at the Downtown Aquarium in Denver, CO.

The pups weigh in at 232 grams, 180 grams, and 222 grams. It is hard to determine their sexes due to their size and age.

Female otters give birth, nurse, and care for their young in a den prepared by the mother. They are born with fur, but are otherwise helpless. Elaine has been a wonderful mother and has been taking care of them since birth. When they get older, they will get a swimming lesson from mom.

The three otter pups will stay at the Binghamton Zoo through the summer and into the fall, when at the decision of the North American SSP management committee, they will go to other zoos to become the foundation of new breeding pairs.

“It is important that we continue to breed and maintain this species in our zoos. In the wild they are considered an “indicator species” as to the health of the waterway in which they are found. One of the best ways to teach and inspire future generations about our wild heritage is to allow them to experience them in zoos,” said Dave Orndorff, Animal Curator at the Binghamton Zoo.

2014_otter_pups_3Otters are still considered vulnerable or imperiled throughout much of their range in the mid-western United States and the Appalachian Mountains. Otters do have a Species Survival Plan through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums that help to maintain and diversify the species.

North American river otters are found throughout Canada and the United States, except for areas of Southern California, New Mexico and Texas, and the Mohave Desert of Nevada and Colorado. Their life expectancy in the wild is 10-15 years while in captivity they can live anywhere between 15-20 years.

A naming contest for the three otter pups will take place from March 18 to April 3. We will choose three lucky winners who will win a special meet and greet with the otter pups! Click the link below to send in your suggestions!

Otter Naming Contest