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Palawan Asian small clawed otters

The cutest wild animals I have rescued. Cuddly, fun, and adorable otters!

Baby otter pup nursing

One of the three otter pups nursing.

One of the three otter pups nursing.


Check out my YouTube Channel for many otter videos

  • Otter Mom - YouTube
    Welcome! I started this channel having no idea what I was doing, except that it was a nice place to store family videos. I am a retired entrepreneur, who has...

The Most Adorable Baby Otters rescued when their mother was killed

We live in Palawan, in the Philippines, one of the most biodiverse islands in the world. Last year one of the villagers brought me a wriggling sack with high-pitched squeaks coming from it! When I opened it up, there were 3 furry little creatures inside with their eyes and ears still shut like puppies. I immediately knew they were otters since I had seen photos of them before. The story is that villagers were clearing land near the mangroves and the otter mother was killed accidentally. They then heard this dolphin-like high pitched squeals and found the 3-week old pups. Otter babies are called pups.

I had absolutely no idea what to do with them or what to feed them. We went online and found several otter organizations. We used Skype to call Scotland which had a phone listed. While our friend was on the phone I went online and searched Google for how to feed baby otters. I happened to have some low lactose puppy/kitten milk on hand from previously rescuing a civet and a pangolin, so I gave them this formula and later had to add cream and probiotics to digest the cream. Otter moms have 6% higher fat content than cows milk! They needed to be nursed for 2 1/2 months with little miniature puppy bottles with small nipples and they had to be fed every 2 hours! There were many sleepless nights for me and my assistant and we took turns with the graveyard shifts. It is not easy to raise these pups. We ran out of puppy milk and couldn't find anymore in the entire town; we had to resort to nonlactose human milk. In three days their fur began falling out! It was around the time of weaning so the otter organizations suggested giving them whole foods like small fish.

In the wild, their diet is crabs, mudskipper fish, frogs, small lizards, and mollusks. They are now 6 months old and eat 3 kilos of crabs and fish per day...that's over 6 pounds!!

Two otters and a puppy

Too sweet, this otter pup

Nothing is cuter than an otter pup.

Nothing is cuter than an otter pup.

Learning about otters in Palawan

The hard way.

It's been hard learning to raise and nurture the otters. But I wouldn't trade a day of it. They will be fully grown at 15 months and we and the otter organizations guiding us will appraise their ability to be released. I don't look forward to that day because of all the perils out there. Habitat loss as when their mom was killed clearing in the shores of the mangroves. Some are hunted for meat or their fur, even as pets to the illegal wildlife trade.

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Asian small-clawed otters are the smallest otters in the world and they are monogamous. The female has two litters of pups per year and the subsequent siblings raise the next generation from one to six per litter! They all stay together as a family unit and are always touching and calling to each other. The only time the family breaks up is when one of the parents dies or is killed, as was the case with our otter pups. They are very tactile. I haven't ever seen them groom each other but they have soft paws like a baby and are always reaching out and touching each other even while they sleep. Since I am the parent I have to spend many hours in their enclosure with them, just letting them hang out on me for reassurance and comfort.

Their main diet is crabs, other invertebrates, snails, frogs and they love mudskippers. To add to that they will eat small lizards and mice. It's a real challenge to find the right foods for them nearby and it changes with the season.

Please educate those you meet where otters live to teach them respect for these very family bonded animals. They are an environmental species which means that if they start to disappear naturally without human interaction, the environment is in trouble.

Otters swimming in a mangrove cover

Otters Versus Snake

An Otterly Adorable Video will make your day

Otters underwater

Otter Organizations that Helped me tremendously

  • Otter Specialist Group
    I cannot thank Lesley Wright enough as actually all of the women in this list for the most valuable information and moral support. The Otter Specialist Group (OSG) was founded in 1974 and is part of World Conservation (IUCN) Species Survival Commiss
  • International Otter Survival Fund
    Many thanks to Grace Yoxon who has given me so much moral support and good information. International Otter Survival Fund 7 Black Park, Broadford, Isle of Skye IV49 9DE, Scotland
  • Tikki Hywood Trust
    Many thanks from the bottom of my heart to Lisa Hywood. Founder, Managing Trustee of Tikki Hywood Trust " Through the formation of the Trust, the smaller, lesser known and often more endangered, wild species of animals are given a voice. Little is kn

Did you know Palawan had otters?

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© 2014 Diana J Limjoco

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