When 16-year-old female Asian short-clawed otter Pumpkin lost her 21-year-old partner Eric during lockdown, little did she know that she would find love again, until she was introduced to the young male otter Harris.
Aquarist at the Scarborough Sea Life Centre, Rose German, insisted on the animals’ need for companionship, given their social nature. As they sensed that Pumpkin was showing signs of loneliness, they decided to find her a ‘significant otter’ again, reaching out to other otter sanctuaries to find her the best match.
“And it was Harris that actually caught her eye,” German said, referring to the 10-year-old male otter whose partner died on August 26. Harris arrived in a kennel from the Cornish Seal Sanctuary before he met his soon-to-be partner at her habitat to guarantee a pairing success.
“Normally, it can take quite a few hours for us to actually release them together, but Harris was calling so much, Pumpkin was sniffing around the box, really interested, so we thought, ‘right, we will let them in, see how they do.’ And it was love at first sight,” the aquarist added with a smile. The otters spent a couple of months getting to know each other before they moved to a common space, as they were sharing their food and enjoying their time together.
“They were playing, they were sharing food. Pumpkin was even bringing him a little bit of food, it was really lovely,” German said, just when the team decided the animals were ready to move together to their current enclosure.
On Monday, the animals were seen kissing and snuggling up inside the cage before they jumped outside as the aquarist announced feeding time with her violet basket full of their favourite food: fish bits and chicks.
“It has been nice during lockdown because they had no one to sort of watch them as they go and be able to sort of just settling together without those prying eyes,” the aquarist concluded, as the otters played around celebrating their sanctuary love.