As cute and charismatic as otters are, Nurtured by Nature wants you to understand that otters, as well as most species of exotic animals, make terrible pets and are best kept in zoos and/or the wild. A short list of reasons why Asian Small Clawed Otters do NOT make good pets is as follows:

1. Keeping otters and exotic animals is a full time job not to be taken lightly. Asian Small Clawed Otters (ASCOs) are extremely intelligent and social and should never be kept alone.

2. ASCOs have a very fast metabolism and urinate and defecate all at the same time, something called sprainting, which they immediately smear around to mark their territory.

3. They are emotional animals and need lots of stimulation in the way of activities and exercise. A very important chore at Nurtured by Nature is keeping their toys and enrichment fresh and new.

4. They have short tempers and most people, including zookeepers, learn very quickly that you do no want to cross a romp, which is what a group of ASCOs is called.

Nurtured by Nature never withholds food to make an otter do something (like tricks or to go to the pool). All swims are voluntary and initiated by the otters. A hungry otter is an aggressive otter!


One of Nurtured by Nature’s goals is to make known the plight of otters in the wild. Of the 13 species of otter, only one, the North American River Otter, is not in trouble. The Asian Small Clawed Otter is considered vulnerable, which is one step below endangered, and by some estimates fewer than 5,000 remain in the wild.

The saying, “Out of sight, out of mind” definitely rings true when it comes to the importance of animal ambassadors. We believe that by endearing people to otters they will feel a compassion and responsibility to help make the world a better place for them. We also hope that people will remember that, as an indicator species, if an otter population is healthy, then all other species and aspects of its environment are healthy as well. If a picture is worth a thousand words then an animal ambassador is worth a million!

Proof of the power of endearing an animal to the human population can be seen by simply looking at the differences between cultures regarding the poaching of rhinos and elephants. In cultures where these animals have been endeared to us from childhood, the slaughter and importation of rhino and elephant parts is never tolerated.


All Asian Small Clawed Otters that participate in our encounters are born and raised at our facility from captive born parents that came from two different zoos (2 from Europe and 2 from North America).

1. Some of our other animals are also born here as part of a conservation breeding program.

2. Some of our animals are surplus from other zoos, which means that they had more of one species than they needed.

3. Some of our animals are rescues (less than perfect animals from breeders, animals from research facilities, or confiscated animals from different State Departments).

Regardless of how the animals came to be here, we make great efforts to make sure that they are all well cared for both physically and emotionally! We are a USDA and California Fish and Wildlife permitted and inspected facility and are in excellent standing with both of these governing organizations. We work closely with two veterinarians and rely on the 30 plus years of professional exotic animal experience of our president as well as our 25 volunteers who come from the veterinary as well as the zoological world.



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