Meet Little Pudding: Baby river otter gets a name

July 29, 2015 - 11:32am

In an online vote, rescued pup is named for a tributary of Oregon's Pudding River

A boisterous, squeaky river otter pup — orphaned last month near Oakridge, Ore., and now living at the Oregon Zoo — has a name. The 4-month-old will be called Little Pudding, named for a tributary of the Pudding River that joins the main stem in Marion County west of Mt. Angel.

"A lot of the animals here get their names from nations or cultures associated with the species' native habitats," said Julie Christie, senior keeper for the zoo's North America area. "For the river otters, we like to choose names based on local waterways."

After narrowing their list of potential names to three choices — J.R. Papenfus and Hobson were the other two — keepers last week invited the public to vote for their favorite via the zoo website. More than 5,500 otter fans weighed in, with Little Pudding earning around 36 percent of the votes.

The pup was alone, hungry and dehydrated when he was spotted wandering alongside Highway 58. He was taken to the Chintimini Wildlife Center in Corvallis. Since the young otter would not be able to survive in the wild without its mother, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife contacted the zoo to see if space was available once the pup's health stabilized.

Visitors should be able to get a look at the youngster later this summer, after keepers introduce him to the zoo's two adult otters, Tilly and B.C., in their Cascade Stream and Pond habitat. In the meantime, otter fans can check out this video from the zoo's vet center: bit.ly/ottername.

"B.C. has always been good around young otters, so we're hopeful that the introduction will go swimmingly," Christie said. "We have a very good track record with orphaned otters. Tilly and B.C. were also rescued animals who had a rough start to life."