The Denver Zoo in Colorado has a new addition: a two-year-old North American river otter named Ahanu; a new friend for the zoo’s long-time otter named Otto. The pair are now part of the Northern Shores exhibit and they’re getting along “swimmingly,” the zoo said in a media release.
Ahanu was born at California’s Oakland Zoo in February 2011 and arrived in Denver last month. North American river otters in zoos live on average to the age of 20, the zoo said. Ahanu’s arrival has put some spring in Otto’s steps. Otto, 15, lost his long-time mate Ariel in October 2012 when the 19-year-old otter died.
Otters tend to be playful, the release said, as a way to strengthen social bonds, practice hunting techniques and scent mark territories. River otters are the most amphibious members of the weasel family and are physically well adapted for life in the water, the zoo said. They can swim at an average speed of seven miles per hour and stay underwater for up to eight minutes.