Meet the first river otter born at the Oregon Zoo

Meet the first river otter born at the Oregon Zoo
A newborn river otter pup at the Oregon Zoo. © Oregon Zoo / photo by Michelle Schireman

PORTLAND, Ore. - Look out, Lily: A 12-ounce newcomer is eyeing your title as the Oregon Zoo's most adorable baby.

Tilly, a North American river otter, gave birth to a male pup on Jan. 28. The little guy doesn't have a name yet, but will likely be named after a local river or waterway. Tilly was named after the Tillamook River.

So how is the new mom doing?

"Tilly is doing all the right things and appears calm and comfortable," said Amy Cutting, zoo animal curator. First-time moms of any species are not always successful though, Cutting cautioned. Keepers are tempering their optimism and keeping a close watch on Tilly and her pup. So far, she is doing well.

"We give her access to the exhibit during the day," said Julie Christie, senior keeper for the zoo's North America area. "But Tilly is very attentive to her pup and doesn't spend more than a few minutes away before going back to check on him."

B.C. (short for Buttercup) is the pup's father. He and Tilly hit it off quickly when he was brought to the zoo in 2010.

"Otters are not always compatible, so we feel very lucky that these two get along so well," Cutting said. "We hope the new pup will be the first of many for them."

River otter pups don't open their eyes for about three to six weeks. And you might not realize this, but swimming doesn't come naturally to them - mom has to teach them how to do it.

Zoo visitors won't be able to see Tilly and her pup for a few months. Until then, you can keep up with the pup's progress by following the zoo on Facebook and Twitter.