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These Otters Are Popular Pets in Asia. That May Be Their Undoing.
Posted on 09:35 April 24th, 2019

These Otters Are Popular Pets in Asia. That May Be Their Undoing.

By Rachel Nuwer

For The New York Times

 

April 22, 2019



TOKYO — We smelled them before we saw them. Amid an overwhelming reek of urine and scat, we descended a tight staircase into a cramped basement, where tattered ottomans faced a small wire cage.

Within the cage stood the star attractions and source of the odor: four Asian small-clawed otters. Spotting us, the animals burst into chirps, whimpers, shrieks and screams.

After passing around a laminated sheet with warnings printed in Japanese, Mandarin and English (“Otters sometimes become violent”), a handler opened the cage. The animals bolted out and flew about the room, racing over laps and gobbling down kibbles.

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