Meet Mo, Oregon Zoo's river otter pup

Mar 15, 2013

Meet Mo, the newest river otter pup at the Oregon Zoo.

Zoo officials on Friday announced the North American river otter’s name and released video of his latest checkup.

Mo — short for Mollala — is named after Oregon’s Molalla River following family tradition. His mother, Tilly, is named after the Tillamook River. (His father, incidentally is named Buttercup, or B.C. for short. When he was first transferred to the zoo, his name misled officials into thinking he was a female otter.)

Zoo officials say they chose the name after considering a number of suggestions from the public, which included Willy — short for Willamette — and Pudding after a tributary of the Molalla. Part of the reason they chose Mo was its unisex appeal.

“We're pretty sure the pup's a male, but we can't be positive until our vets conduct a more thorough exam,” said Julie Christie, a senior at the zoo. “Either way, we think Molalla will be a good name. ere are plenty of females named Mo, too."

When the baby otter was born on Jan. 28, he weighed a mere 4 ounces. He now tips the scale at more than 2.5 pounds.

Mo has been heavily dependent on his mother, as is typical for river otters, according to zoo officials. Swimming does not come naturally for river otters, who are taught by their mothers to swim, zoo officials say.

Because both of his parents were born in the wild, Mo is thought to be genetically important for future breeding of river otters.

Zoo officials hope to introduce Mo to the public in a few weeks.