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Otter Pups Graduate From Zoo's Swimming Lessons

Playing Otter Pups Graduate From Zoo's Swimming Lessons

These otters may not be donning a cap and gown, but they’re the latest graduates of the zoo’s swim program.

Read: Rescued Sea Otter Settles Into New Home at Aquarium But Still Needs a Name

Baby otters Nellie and Tucker were born at the Oregon Zoo in February, and began learning how to swim under the watchful eye of their mom, Tilly, a few weeks ago.

"Tilly’s a great swim instructor," zookeeper Celess Edinger said in a statement. "Tilly grabs them by the scruff of their necks and dunks them in the water. But that’s natural river otter behavior. It’s how they learn to swim."

Edinger explained Nellie and Tucker’s mom would start off each swim lesson by pulling them to the water and diving in.

It only took a few weeks of following their mom for them to become naturals.

“Many people don’t realize that river otters need to learn how to swim just like us,” Edinger said.

Read: Student Headed to the Olympics Reveals How She Learned to Swim After Cousins Drowned

Female pup Nellie, short for Nehalem, and male pup Tucker, short for Nestucca, were both named after nearby bodies of water.

The zoo explained they often name their river otters after local waterways, to emphasize the importance of protecting their natural habitats – rivers, streams and wetlands.

Watch: 4-Week-Old Otter Rescued From Canal Now in Good Health, Thanks to Kind Utility Workers

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