Mom uses tough-love for baby otter’s swimming lessons

The Oregon Zoo shared a video this week showing otter parenting skills. It seems tough to be a baby otter.

Baby river otters need swimming lessons, much like humans, says the narrator of the video posted on Apr. 3. They also need tough-loving moms willing to do what it takes to keep their little ones thriving out in the world.

In the case of Molalla, the baby river otter, that means mom has to drag him through the water and pull him repeatedly under the surface to teach him how to dive.

She's like the swimming teacher who pushes kids into the pool while they're staring into the water, working up the nerve to jump.

"This might look a little brutal to us. It's kind of scary to watch," Becca VanBeek, the zoo's otter keeper, says in the video. "But it's natural for them."

VanBeek says Molalla only weighed about the same as a handful of jelly beans when he was born but he's grown to weigh about two kilograms. The nine-week-old pup hangs like a limp sausage while mom drags him around. However, VanBeek says that before long he'll start diving on his own.

We give you a gold star on the Sea Otter level of your swimming lessons, Molalla, even if you're actually a river otter.

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