May 27th Was World Otter Day, and Japanese Aquariums Brought it Online

Nationwide Entertainment Internet 2020.05.29
With everyone still reticent to leave their quarantines, Japanese Twitter exploded with great otter content.
Yesterday, Japanese netizens learned that the final Wednesday of May every year is World Otter Day, a day to celebrate these cute water-loving critters and learn a little more about them. River otters, especially Asian small-clawed otters, are a staple at Japanese aquariums, and since those same aquariums have been especially active on Twitter recently, it's no surprise that their many otter-themed posts were trending throughout the day. Japan's state of emergency ended earlier in the week, but many cautious residents are continuing to stay home and continue remote work after months of quarantine; the wave of adorable otter pictures and interesting otter facts was just the thing to cheer up everyone's mundane Wednesdays. So I've collected a few of the best posts here to cheer up your day, as well!
While this was the final tweet of the day from Tokyo's popular Ueno Zoo, it set an important tone for Japan's celebrations of World Otter Day, writing:
 

「If today's posts spark an interest in otters, definitely expand that interest to reach further than "cute!" Otters are definitely far more appealing as wild animals than as pets. We're hoping all otters will have many happy days in front of them.」


Undeniably adorable, river otters have become increasingly popular as pets in Japan over the past few years, despite their endangered status and the difficulty of caring for them. As appealing as it might be to have an otter for a pet, most people just aren't prepared to meet their needs, so let's appreciate them from afar!
A modern aquarium in the middle of Tokyo's busy Ikebukuro neighborhood, Sunshine Aquarium were sharing otter facts throughout the day, and focusing quite a bit on Japan's popular Asian small-clawed otters.
 

「Asian small-clawed otters are called that because they have tiny nails at the ends of their fingers. Incidentally, on the palms of their hands and the soles of their feet they have toe pads, and no fur grows. That gives them a secure grip. They also catch their food by searching around with their hands.」

In Japan you sometimes hear people tell you to avoid watching river otters eat if you want to still think they're cute. It's true, they look a little less innocent once you've seen them aggressively gobble down a fish or two. This otter at Saitama Children's Zoo is still pretty cute, though.
While Asian small-clawed otters reign supreme in Japan, some places like the Sendai Umino-Mori Aquarium shared some other otter content. Behold: the wonderful schnoz of the African clawless otter. 
Of course, Ueno Zoo then jumped in with a clip of their Eurasian otter as well.
 

「Our 12 o'clock tweet is delivering the charms of an otter's face directly to you.

Their eyes, nose, and ears are all lined up and upward-facing. Just by poking their heads slightly above the waterline, otters are able to see and hear how things are going out of the water and also take a breath, making them excellently suited to life in the water. Their faces are lovely from the front and in profile, aren't they?」

「Asian small-clawed otters communicate vocally. It's said that they can make and distinguish between at least 10 different kinds of calls. The noise they're making in the video is them demanding food. They can be pretty loud.」

「Asian small-clawed otters are very dextrous with their fingers and they love to play. Even in the wild, they're seen playing with sticks and small stones. The otters at Sunshine Aquarium also roll stones around and play with them.」

「Otters' have some interesting characteristics, like long, thin bodies and flat heads. Thanks to the shape of their bodies, they can slip through the water with little resistance. It's easy to just sit and watch them glide easily through the water, isn't it?」

A peaceful finish to our brief look into World Otter Day by way of Japanese Twitter - Asian small-clawed otters love to nap together. If you still want more, you can always scroll through the many posts from the 27th by checking the Twitter hashtag #世界カワウソの日 (World Otter Day)! In the meantime, Sunshine Aquarium gave us a simple suggestion for how to help the world's otters in our everyday life: protect the forests and water the otters depend on by using reusable shopping bags and chopsticks. We can surely do more, but that's not a bad start!
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NameAquariums Around Japan
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Sophia

I came to Japan for a semester abroad, and have been here ever since, so I guess there's just something about it. Tell me all the cool Japan-related things you know on instagram or twitter @japankuru !

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