Researchers studying the behaviour of otters have found they learn from each other to help them solve puzzles.
Academics from Anglia Ruskin University alongside University of Exeter and University of Leeds designed a study where captive otters were given foraging tasks – with bits of foods put in sealed containers.
The animals were observed trying to open the containers to get to the treats.
- Smooth-coated otters observed each other completing tasks – such as retrieving food from a container sealed with clips, or ones with screw-top/pull-off lids – and copied the behaviour in order to extract their own food.
- Younger otters learnedhow to solve the puzzles more than six times faster than their parents.
- Asian short-clawed otters showed no sign of copying each other.
The last find was a shock to researchers who expected to find similar traits in both species.