A baby otter is called a pup or kit. The mother of an otter can give birth to up to three babies at once. When more than one baby is born from a single pregnancy, that group of siblings is called a litter. Baby otters are amazing creatures with a reputation for being playful, energetic, and fun. A newborn weighs about two ounces and measures 22 to 24 inches in length. They are also born blind and won’t open their eyes until 30 to 40 days after birth. Baby otters are extremely dependent on their caregivers because of their size and inability to see. Once they are about a year old, they will venture away from their family. This is the time of year when mother otters get pregnant with new litters. The female otter has babies every year from when she is an adult until she is too old to carry them. In her lifetime, an otter can have 200 or more babies.
Otters cannot swim until several months after they are born. However, they float on top of the water. Depending on their species, otter kittens learn to swim from their mothers between four and nine weeks of age. Surprisingly, the tiny mammals are not eager to learn how to swim when the time comes. Mother otters must drag babies into the water for the first few times because they are afraid of it. As the kits become more familiar with the water, they get plenty of practice swimming. During their learning process, they spend five to six hours in the water before taking an hour to rest. A mother otter anchors her pup to land with kelp or seaweed when she must leave her to hunt. When its mother is away from the pup, this ensures its safety and protection. The otter can also build makeshift playpens from branches, logs, and other materials.
There are many similarities between otter families and human families. An otter’s father, mother, and even siblings provide care for a baby otter. Mothers’ otters start preparations for otter pups even before they are born. After a female otter becomes pregnant, she and her father begin preparing to have a baby. They won’t be able to leave the nest often since they need lots of attention. Therefore, they spend a lot of time stockpiling food. When otter siblings grow up, they often play, teach, and babysit their younger siblings. Otters’ fathers play a significant role in the dynamic since they protect their babies, mothers, and siblings.