On November 12, 2021, four otter pups were born to parents Peeta & Gail. After the whole family has been bonding behind the scenes, they went out on exhibit for the first time on January 25 and are slowly increasing their time in public view as they become more comfortable in the space. The best viewing time is in the morning!

Peeta

  • Was born in February 2008 at Fort Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, WA
  • Was named by donors after a character in The Hunger Games; his previous companion Katniss was also named after a HG character, but she passed away in December 2016 after a prolonged kidney ailment
  • Is considered “laid back” and “easygoing” by keepers, likes playing with his food in the large pool
  • Is very quick to train, and responds to around ten different commands

Gail

  • Was born in November 2013 at Greensboro Science Center, NC, and arrived at the Zoo in March 2017
  • Was named by donors after Gale, the second of Katniss’ love interests in The Hunger Games franchise; spelling was changed to a female version
  • Looks almost exactly like Peeta, except has more whiskers
  • Is very “talkative,” and her vocalizations sound like mouse squeaks
  • Bonded quickly with Peeta, and likes to put her tail over his head

Berbudi

  • Born at the Santa Barbara Zoo on October 7, 2017
  • Loves any and all food
  • Really enjoys sleeping
  • Is the most cautious of the group when it comes checking out new enrichment!
three otter pups sip from a small stream

Otter Pups

  • Born at the Santa Barbara Zoo on November 12, 2021
  • Four pups, two female and two male
  • Started exploring their habitat in late January 2022
  • Are healthy, curious, and super cute

Dexterous Hunters

The smallest of all the 13 otter species, Asian small-clawed otters’ claws do not extend beyond the ends of their fingers and toes — thus the name. They use their dexterous paws to feel through mud, in crevices, and under rocks in search of their next meal of freshwater snails, clams, crabs, crawfish, and frogs. In contrast, local Southern sea otters use their mouths to hunt and utilize tools like rocks to crack open sea snails and urchins.

FROM THE KEEPERS

If Peeta wants something, he tilts his head to the side as if to say, ‘I’m so cute!’ He also knows his name. If I tell him ‘Peeta, no,’ he will stop whatever he’s doing. Then he puts his head to the side and tries that cute face.

HeatherMammal Keeper

Conservation Status

The IUCN Red List confirms that this species is “Vulnerable,” due to habitat loss and poaching.

Shop Smart

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