Cheeky names for otter babies

Cheeky names for otter babies

Although it seems like just yesterday that WWT Washington's cheeky Asian short-clawed otter quadruplets were born, they’re now 4 months old and are positively thriving.

After oodles of ideas and hearty discussion the team at WWT Washington have announced that the youngsters now have adorable names to match their incredibly cute faces.

Ash, Tod, Pip and Sam are the names chosen for the four youngsters. Deciding on names for otters is trickier than it may seem. The team that care for them spent a lot of time passing ideas around, trying to find names that fit well with the otters’ appearance or their personalities; before coming to a final decision.

WWT Washington’s collection manager Kristian Purchase explained: “We’ve had a lot of name suggestions from visitors which is great and we were extremely grateful for - the chosen names have been toyed with for several weeks and were selected for a number of reasons.

“We needed to think about how the names sounded, if they would be too similar to each other or to our existing otters: Mimi, Musa and Ruby. This is in readiness for training, which takes place for things like feeding and health checks. Whilst our otters are very much wild animals, it’s really useful for us and far less stressful for the otters if they’re able to do things like pop on the scales on demand. To do this, they need to be able to recognise their names so that we can direct them individually.

“We now have a family of seven otters here and as visitors will know, they don’t sit still for very long - we needed names which that help us identify each animal at first glance, reflecting their personality and behaviours, as well as their physical appearance.”

Since their birth, the otters have gone from strength to strength, growing well and enthusiastically learning from Mimi, Musa and Ruby. They’re copying everything from standing on their back legs, juggling pebbles, digging and climbing. But what makes them different from each other? Here’s a quick guide to help:

Ash – named because of the colour of her fur, is the only female cub and is probably the most recognizable with her pale fur and pink nose. She was the smallest of the four when born but what she lacks in size she makes up for in confidence and inquisitiveness! She also entertains staff as she makes little funny, happy squeaks as she eats.

Tod - the largest of the litter is growing to be the leader of the pack and is very independent – although he looks very similar to his brother Sam, his fur is noticeably darker which makes it a little easier to pick him out. He likes his grub and is always keen to eat first!

Pip - a name chosen because he is now the smallest of the bunch, has pale brown fur (very much like mum Mimi) with very identifiable markings across his nose and down his cheeks – almost like he’s wearing a little mask. He is the most reserved of the group and often follows dad Musa around.

Sam - looks a lot like Tod and is very playful. He enjoys juggling pebbles and sticks like big sister Ruby. He can often be seen running around with twigs in his mouth or paws.

Kristian added: “We’re confident these names will catch on very quickly – they’re short and easy to remember and visitors will certainly have fun trying to recognise each otter with their different colourings and markings. It certainly helps make our visitors whole experience more interactive and enjoyable.”

The otter cubs along with their parents and big sister are firm favorites with our visitors; and they definitely know how to put on a good show. Visitors are almost guaranteed to see them as they are out feeding, swimming, running, playing and generally doing what otters do best every day, especially around feeding time talks at 11.30am and 3pm.

Fancy putting your otter ID-ing to the test? As part of WWT Washington's Nature Explorers summer activities, one of the challenges involves the otters – another great excuse to come and watch these little delights!

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Did you know?

Perhaps Sunderland's most prominent landmark is Penshaw Monument. It was built in 1844 in honour of the first Earl of Durham, John George Lambton. Penshaw was modelled on Theseion, the Temple of Thesus in Athens.

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