Contrary to popular belief, baby river otters do not know how to swim from birth. Rather, it falls on their parents to teach them how, much like humans. Upon reaching adulthood, otters can be graceful swimmers. A shiny, waterproof coat of fur allows it to glide effortlessly while strong limbs propel it in short bursts. Its shape is also well-equipped for prolonged activity in the water, so much so that river otters are visibly more agile while swimming than when on land.

Walking and running for these animals can be described as awkward, so otters often make their homes near bodies of water. Their favorite food is usually fish or small, crunchy crustaceans like crayfish.  

But learning how to swim isn’t an effortless ordeal. Otter pups are taught by experience, which may seem a little like tough love.

In the following video, young male otter Molalla is snatched up by his mother Tilly as they go through the basics of dogpaddling 101 and some shallow diving.


Image screenshot of video by Oregon Zoo on youtube

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