What's better than one keyboard-playing otter? Two keyboard-playing otters, of course!
In June, we were shocked and awed by the staggering sight of an otter playing a keyboard. Little Dua, an Asian small-clawed otter, was a resident of California's own Monterey Bay Aquarium, and his caretakers decided that he needed more excitement in his life. The solution: Supply him with his own Yamaha keyboard and enough snacks to convince him that playing it was worth his while.
Dua's not exactly Elton John -- heck, he can't even play Chopsticks -- but we gave him an A for effort, and watching him tickle the ivories became one of our favorite pastimes. (Don't tell our boss.) Imagine our delight, then, when we heard from aquarium staffer Karen Jeffries about a new keyboard-playing-otter video -- this time featuring two otters playing a duet!
These two, like Dua before them, are Asian small-clawed otters -- no coincidence, since the species is known for its manual dexterity. (In the wild, the little guys -- and we do mean little, since the species is the smallest of all the world's otters -- use their fingers to grab prey like crabs and mussels. But the same nimble little fingers that help them to capture dinner also come in handy when picking out notes on the keyboard.)
Since these videos were recorded, Dua and his duet-playing fellows, Tiga and Empat, have relocated to different aquariums. But fear not -- Jeffries assures us that their music lessons haven't fallen by the wayside. Tiga and Empat, who now live at the New Forest Otter, Owl & Wildlife Park in Southampton, England, will continue playing their keyboard as an enrichment activity at their new home. We'll be anxiously awaiting the release of their debut single (which, after all, can't possibly be any worse than "Jingle Cats")!
-- Lindsay Barnett
Video: MontereyBayAquarium via YouTube