Cape Clawless otter behind river plants.

Meet Sweet Otter

Cape clawless otter, Sweet.

She’s 17 years old and full of personality, and the keepers who take care of a Cape clawless otter at the San Diego Zoo say she is “otterly” the sweetest! So it’s no wonder that her name is Sweet Otter. 

Cape clawless otter, Sweet, swimming in water.

Like the other members of her species, Sweet Otter enjoys spending time in the water. Keepers think one reason she did so well with knee surgery a few years ago is because she did her own physical therapy by swimming and climbing. In the wild, Cape clawless otters are found in fresh water and marine habitats close to the forests in Africa. Cape clawless otters are the second-largest species of otters, with only the giant otter being bigger. Sweet Otter weighs about 27 pounds—her species can grow up to 43 pounds and almost 3 feet long!

Cape clawless otter peaking out from toy tire swing with treat atop swing.

Sweet Otter has many ways to keep herself occupied. She loves to tear up plants, bark, and paper products and then turn them into papier-mâché along the front wall of her habitat. She also enjoys tossing around her enrichment items, like burlap, palm fronds, and ginger. She plays with balls, rocks, and other toys her keepers give her. She is a super-duper digger, too! 

Cape clawless otter, Sweet, enjoying a meal while she sits in water.

When it’s time to eat, Sweet Otter chows down on fish, squid, meat, carrots, and yams. She also receives veggies like jicama, cucumbers, and peppers to help her stay slim and fit, which is better for her aging joints. She also gets goldfish twice a week, and mealworms and crickets as a special treat.

The next time you’re at the Zoo, go visit Sweet Otter in her habitat on the Zoo’s Center Street. She’ll be busy, but she will still be happy to see you!