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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Otter-ly adorable! Furry family of three look like they are having fun in the sun... while it lasts

By Inderdeep Bains

After a slap-up fish lunch, with the prospect of a nice snooze in the sun, the baby otter was no doubt thinking that life doesn’t get much better.

Then a double hug from its mother and father proved him wrong.

Geography student Ben Marshall, 18, captured the touching moment while on a visit to the Marwell Wildlife park in Winchester, Hampshire.

Give me a kiss! This family of three otters share an intimate moment as they bask in the sun after tucking into dinner

He had glimpsed the otter family through a gap in the brick wall of their enclosure but could not see enough to take a photograph.

To circumvent the problem he lifted his camera above his head and took the snap – and managed to catch them at exactly the right moment.

‘After I deleted a few dodgy looking images I was left with this one and was extremely chuffed,’ he said.

Beaming with delight, it looks as if the parents are snuggling up to their pleased-as-punch pup.

Mr Marshall added: 'I was incredibly fortunate as I couldn't even look through the camera's viewfinder because of the wall.

'The family had just been fed by the zookeepers and it was a nice family portrait.'
Otters are playful animals and appear to engage in various behaviors for sheer enjoyment.

The newborn pup is taken care of by the mother, the father, and all the other offspring.

Female otters reach sexual maturity at approximately two years of age, while males can produce offspring at approximately three years of age.

After one month, the young otter can come out of the cave, and after two months, it is able to swim. It lives with its family for about one year so that it can learn and be kept safe until maturity. Otters live up to 16 years.

Different species vary in their social structure, with some being largely solitary, while others live in groups – in a few species these groups may be fairly large.



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