When most of us hear of weasels we think of pests, disgusting diseased animals that are like rats but bigger. However, when you realize the otter is the largest member of the weasel family it makes you quickly reconsider. That is because the otter is undeniably cute. These clever creatures can be seen using rocks as tools, can build dams and are very caring for their family. One of their cutest traits has recently been caught on camera.
In Tacoma, Washington there is a small zoo and aquarium called Point Defiance that a number of otters call home. When John Vargas a 62-year-old photographer visited the zoo he got a surprise he was not expecting. While most of us are disappointed when we visit the zoo and the animals are sleeping, for Vargas it meant an incredible picture moment.
He managed to capture two otters asleep in the water, with their eyes closed and holding hands and with a look of complete trust and security on their faces. The otters showed the type of sweet embrace that many people are looking for in life. Otters are known to sleep and eat while holding hands to ensure that as they drift in a river they don’t get separated. Originally experts on these animals thought that it was an effort to keep warm while they remained still in the water but research has shown that can’t be possible. While otters are one of the few water-based mammals that don’t have blubber they have the thickest fur of any animal, meaning warmth is not an issue for them.
This just makes the sweet embrace all the more adorable. They are doing it purely because they don’t want to be separated. How has Pixar not made a movie about an otter couple being separated in a storm, we do not know! While these pictures were taken in a zoo, otters are also prevalent in the wild. Otters can be found in Alaska and Canada with 90% of all sea otters found in Alaska today. Smaller river otters can be found across many states of America as well.
Otters are so committed to each other that they will often tie themselves to some seaweed and then hold on to each other. This act of holding each other is called a raft. It is a common technique employed by otters to stay together.
The other incredibly cute thing about otters is the little pups. Otter pups rely heavily on their mother for the first 6 months of their life. They have a lot of fur, too much in fact compared to their body size. This means they can’t swim underwater because they are simply too dense. Mother otters have to leave the babies floating on the surface of the water while they get them food.
While these creatures are incredibly cute they are pretty smart as well. They will use rocks to open clams, use their whiskers to find small sea creatures and use their claws to dig for other creatures in the seabed. They need to show a lot of initiative to find food too because they eat so much. Otters will typically eat 25% of their body weight every day!
These incredible pictures are just perfect. They show that we all need to spend more time in nature to see the wondrous things that animals do. The weasel is clearly a misunderstood animal and the otter is a fine example of just how cute and intelligent they are. If the great outdoors is too far from where you live then you may be as lucky as John Vargas was and be able to spot some great moments in your local zoo.