Otter Juggles Rocks [Video]

Here’s a video of an otter juggling rocks. If that isn’t the cutest thing you see all day, I’ll stand amazed. All you have to do is go ahead and hit that button to take a look.

According to the post at YouTube, the adorable juggling otter is a member of a group of 13 Asiatic short-clawed otters playing at the Dudley Zoological Gardens in the United Kingdom. The semi-aquatic otters apparently enjoying juggling rocks, carrot tops, or what-have-you in order to keep their skills sharp.

This otter reportedly wasn’t trained by the zoo staff to juggle the rocks. Apparently, it’s just a natural form of play for this species.

The Asiatic short-clawed otter is the smallest otter species. And, yes, it stands out because of its particularly short claws, which don’t extend beyond the fleshy pads of its partly webbed fingers and toes.

As you can likely see from the habitat offered by the zoo, the species lives in extended family groups.

I’ve always got time for a cute otter. On Tuesday, I reported on a study which revealed that sea otters may actually be helping the environment.

According to recent research in California, the crab-eating species may help maintain the health of seagrasses, which are important nurseries for many fish species to lay their eggs. The otters eat crabs, reducing the number of crabs that eat sea slugs.

That allows the sea slugs to multiply. And the growing population of algae-eating sea slugs keeps unhealthy algae blooms from getting out of hand and choking off the growth of healthy sea grasses.

Useful as they undoubtedly are to the environment, I didn’t see anything in that study about sea otters juggling rocks. That talent may belong to the Asiatic short-clawed otter alone.

[Asiatic short-clawed otter thumbnail by photo credit: Paul Albertella via photopin cc]