Keepers at Tynemouth’s Blue Reef Aquarium are hoping love is in the air after introducing a potential new partner for Gizmo the otter.
Gizmo was born at the aquarium back in 2005 and celebrates his ninth birthday in November.
Staff had been on the lookout for a new mate for Gizmo as he had been on his own for several weeks.
Now a three-year-old captive-bred Asian short clawed otter, called Indra, has been kindly donated to the North Tyneside wildlife attraction by Chester Zoo.
Keepers are hopeful the pair will develop a strong bond and will eventually have cubs of their own.
“Indra was originally from a litter of five cubs. She has had very little human contact so is very nervous around us but this will change as she gets used to us and starts her training and enrichment programme,” said Blue Reef’s Anna Etchells.
“Her and Gizmo have been getting on great! They are chasing each other and playing together happily. They are rubbing noses together and sleeping cuddled up together.
“Gizmo has even shown her how to get out of the water in their enclosure – something she wasn’t used to!” she added. As their name suggests Asian short clawed otters are found throughout southern Asia including India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Unlike most otters, their front feet are only partly webbed and have short claws used for digging under rocks and in the mud.
These special adaptations make them particularly dexterous and you will often see them ‘juggling’ or playing with rocks and pebbles.
They are highly social and intelligent mammals with a wide vocabulary. Scientists have identified up to 12 different calls.
Issued by Blue Reef Aquarium. For more information please contact Anna Etchells on 0191 258 1031.