The reason why Pip lives with me, is a little bit complicated. I'll try to explain it as easy and short as possible.

I've worked as a zookeeper for a few years in different kinds of zoo's.

One of those zoo's had a couple wonderful Asian Smallclawed Otters, who were and do still breed once or twice a year.

During my job at this zoo, the couple Otters gave birth to 5 young and healthy otter pups in August 2016. All 5 were girls! An otter mother only has 4 nipples to feed their young. So it isn't always for sure all 5 (or more) pup's will get enough milk out of those 4 nipples. 

When the pup's reached the age of 3 weeks it was very clear that one of the pups did not get enough milk. She was very tiny compared with her sisters, also seemed to be less active. She definitely wasn’t going to make it without a little help. That’s why I took her home, to safe her life. 

For a few weeks I fed her every two/tree hours of the day and night. And after a big fight she, called Pip, became a healthy little otter.


A second chance, she deserved!

photo by Pia Cuijpers
photo by Pia Cuijpers

At the age of 3 weeks (when I brought her home) she still had her eyes closed, like all pup's have when they were born. The moment those eyes opened, I was already taking care for her day and night. The first thing she saw the most was me, she linked all the familiar sounds and smell she knew, to me. What made happen she started to see me as her real mother.

She never saw and recognized otters as her own species, so wasn't reacting on other otters at all. 

After a few months it was clear that Pip would not go back to the zoo. Because when she would, she was going to stay all alone the rest of her life. They gave me the option to keep her, and if I didn’t, she was going to be some kind of attraction where children or other people at the zoo could ‘cuddle’ with her… because she showed some 'tamed' signs. Believe me, that would have become a big disaster! As you know after following us on instagram and reading on this website. An otter can never be 100% tamed.

photo by Pia Cuijpers
photo by Pia Cuijpers