River otters are very playful, with groups of otters often seen slipping and sliding on the ground and then splashing into the water. All this play looks like pure fun, but it’s beneficial for the otters too.
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When they play, young otters learn important survival skills such as hunting techniques, how to develop social bonds and how to mark their territory. Young otters also develop strong swimming skills through play. Although swimming is necessary for their survival, they don’t know how to swim at birth. When they are about 2 months old, their mothers will push young otters, called pups, into the water and keep a watchful eye on them until they can swim on their own.