Two baby otters have been exploring outside for the first time at a newly reopened zoo.
First-time parents Pip and Mathilda had two Asian short-clawed otter pups on April 15, while London Zoo was closed to the public during coronavirus lockdown.
Now, in the same week the zoo reopened its doors, the pair – given the nicknames Bubble and Squeak by keepers – have ventured out of their indoor holt for the first time.
Senior zookeeper Laura Garrett said: “Bubble and Squeak caused so much excitement when they arrived in April: the first animals born at the zoo during lockdown, they boosted the morale of our hard-working zookeeper team and everyone has been waiting eagerly for them to emerge from their holt ever since.
“We set up cameras to monitor their progress, and were overjoyed when we spotted Pip and Mathilda finally carrying them outside – otter pups don’t leave the family holt for at least the first six weeks of their lives, so they’re perfectly on schedule.”
Keepers will not discover the sex of the pair until they are given their first health check.
In the first months of their lives, they are being left to bond with their parents without human interference, with keepers leaving crayfish and sprats for them to eat near the entrance of their holt.
Ms Garrett said: “Both Pip and Mathilda are very paws-on parents and have been devoted to their pups, barely leaving their side.
“We’re so pleased that the zoo has reopened in time for the public to see the whole family start to playfully explore together on their private riverbank.”