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Potter Park Zoo welcomes otter pup triplets

Posted at 12:49 PM, Feb 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-23 12:49:14-05

LANSING, Mich. — Potter Park Zoo welcomed a litter of triplets earlier this month to otters Nkeke and Miles, according to a news release Tuesday.

North American river otter Nkeke gave birth to the three pups on Feb. 3 – almost a year after her last litter.

“This is Miles and Nkeke’s third litter of pups, and while each litter has been exciting, this one is especially so since it is their first set of triplets,” said Carolyn Schulte, the zoo’s otter keeper. “Nkeke is an experienced mom and thanks to her excellent relationship with the keepers we have been able to monitor the pups’ growth closely to ensure they grow at a healthy rate.”


A quick physical exam was conducted at two days old to get a baseline body weight and check for any abnormalities or injuries.

The pups weighed in at 107 grams, 88 grams and 75 grams.

Potter Park Zoo Director of Animal Health Dr. Ronan Eustace says triplets can be challenging for an otter to raise.

“With triplets there are more demands on the mother and we’re cautiously hopeful that she will be able to raise all three without veterinary intervention,” Eustace said.

He believes two of the pups are female and one is male, though it’s difficult to tell gender at this stage.

Otter pups are born fully furred, but take around five weeks to open their eyes.


They start playing at around six weeks and begin swimming lessons shortly after.

Because rearing is done by mom alone, zoo visitors can still see father Miles on exhibit, but will have to wait a few months before Nkeke and the pups are out and about.