A video of a Sea Otter playing basketball has been uploaded the Oregon Zoo, in Portland, USA. The otter, Eddie, has arthritis in his elbows and the 15-year-old mammal was trained to dunk baskets to exercise his limbs and provide some relief.
Eddie the sea otter shooting a basketball into a hoop Image Credit: YouTube
Eddie has been training for over a year now... and shoots hoops with all the style of a seasoned NBA pro. In fact, he might outshoot some of them, for he rarely misses!
The video, which already has well over two million views, shows Eddie shooting with a plastic ball, in a private pool not usually accessible to visitors. The adorable sight of Eddie dunking is not something the zoo wishes to cash in on.
According to National Geographic, the Sea Otter is an aquatic member of the weasel family and is found along the coast of the Pacific Ocean, near North America and Asia. The Sea Otter is a carnivore and eat clams, mussels, crabs, fish and even the odd octopus. The animal, classified as Enhydra lutris, is endangered, according to the IUCN.
Otters use their back legs and flippers to swim and Jenny DeGroot, the Oregon Zoo's lead Sea Otter keeper, had to think of a way to help Eddie to flex his elbows... basketball seemed a natural choice.
"Eddie almost never misses," DeGroot says in the video, "And if [he] does, he keeps going until he makes it. Sea Otters have incredible dexterity, so it makes sense Eddie would have this hidden talent. They're famous for using rocks as tools to crack open clams."
The average life span of the southern Sea Otter is between 10 and 11 years; the oldest on record lived to the ripe old age of 23, which helps explain Eddie's arthritis.
Eddie was brought to the zoo 12 years ago from California, where he was found abandoned as a wild pup, Seattlepi reported.
The video is about two minutes long; impatient viewers note... Eddie's dunking starts at the one-minute mark.