Auckland Zoo welcomes five adorable 'fluffy sausage' otter pups

The otters have been weighed for the first time.
The otters have been weighed for the first time. Photo credit: RNZ

Auckland Zoo has welcomed five new otter pups to its resident population.

Collectively dubbed a 'raft' because of the way otters bunch together in the sea, the pups have just had their first weigh in after being born four weeks ago.

They're not quite water ready yet because their water-proof fur is yet to develop, but they are looking especially cute, with one keeper describing them as "fluffy sausages".

Auckland Zoo team leader of carnivores Lauren Booth told Checkpoint reporter Nita Blake-Persen about the new additions.

"They're just I suppose over a handful ... they're between 300-400grams so I guess you'd be looking at a bit smaller than a block of butter."

The parents, Takumi and Kanan, had already given birth to two sets of triplets during 2019, and with these latest additions, the raft of Asian small-clawed otters has grown to 13.

Booth says at the moment they are completely dependent on their parents and siblings, who move them between nesting areas.

"With Asian small-clawed otters everyone chips in, so dad does a lot of the heavy lifting to begin with he'll be taking mum food and of course mum's doing the hard work of feeding and raising the young, but dad's running around looking after the older ones and making sure mum's okay and he also takes on babysitting duties so he does get a bit run ragged.

"The other older pups ... they're all taking turns babysitting as well.

"[The newborns'] eyes aren't open yet, so all they're really doing is being carried around if mum needs to move them to a cleaner spot ... or eating and sleep."

But unfortunately for the raft, they won't be sticking together for so long.

"We will be looking at cleaving off a single-sex group for another institution within Australasia."