Otter’s gotta lotta learning to do! Creature that couldn’t swim and had never caught its own food after being abandoned as a pup is trained to hunt by volunteers in rehab effort
- Lazarus the Cape clawless otter was abandoned as a pup in South Africa
- Spent his early years at a sanctuary that had no open water in which to swim
- After six weeks in new home, he’s still scared of swimming in deep waters
- Stays in the shallows, where he can keep his head poking over the top
An otter that had never ventured into water had to be taught to swim by the volunteers who rescued him.
Lazarus had never caught his own food or even dunked his head under water despite being three years old.
After three weeks of training, the Cape clawless otter is now able to swim two and a half miles.
Lazarus (pictured) is still hesitant at the thought of dipping his head in deep waters but has managed to submerge since the training
It took hours of persuasion before he’d even submerge in the river at the Hartbeespoort bird sanctuary, The Sunday Times reports.
But one of the centre’s volunteers, Brendan Murray, spends up to six hours a day encouraging the animal.
The 7kg otter is being trained up to become a proficient hunter of fish, crabs and mussels in South Africa’s Crocodile River.
Even when there are no predators in the water, Lazarus sticks to its shallow spots to ensure he can touch the river bed.
The otter spent his early years on a sanctuary that had no open water in which he could learn how to swim
Mr Murray says that he is still ‘fearful of the deep’ but has mastered the art of snaring crabs and mussels. However, he’ll have to dive deeper if he hopes to catch fish, the volunteer explained.
Lazarus moved to Owl Rescue Centre last month after spending his early years at a sanctuary with no open water.
He was abandoned as a pup and has never had to opportunity to master the art of swimming until now.
Cape clawless otters spend 18 months with their mothers in the wild, learning to fend for themselves.
The animals are capable of being nocturnal and diurnal. They hunt in fresh water or sea water on coasts and wetlands across Africa.