This Valentine’s Day we thought we would feature one of our most adorable couples at Perth Zoo. Forget Romeo and Juliet, we have Paddy and Cerdik, our Asian Small-clawed Otters, and we are certain their romance will have a far happier ending.

The pair were introduced in July last year, with the hopes that they will breed a litter of otter pups.

Perth Zoo Keeper, Karen Rotherham, said female Paddy was instantly drawn to Cerdik’s animal magnetism: “It was love at first sight.”

“We noticed that Paddy was offering some of her food to Cerdik, which is very generous of her,” Karen said.

In the wild it is usually the male otters that will offer their food to a female in an attempt to prove they are capable of caring for her and any future young.

But our seven year-old Paddy is a modern day female and has made a great impression on Cerdik, who is almost four years younger.

“He has been acting very protective of Paddy, we noticed that he would come rushing to her side if she was making certain noises,” Karen said.

Before being paired at Perth Zoo, Paddy was born at a Frankfurt Zoo, Germany, moving to Melbourne Zoo in 2011, and Cerdik was born at Auckland Zoo, New Zealand. It was an international love match!

Asian Small-clawed Otters are a vulnerable species, with their habitat of rivers, streams, rice paddies and estuaries threatened by pollution and urban development.

This social species normally live in small groups, but to give the new couple some alone time to bond, the family group of otters we had before were moved to New Zealand.

Like a few others in the animal kingdom, once they have found a good match, otters will pair for life.

Although they appear to only have eyes for each other, Paddy and Cerdik share their exhibit with our Binturong family, Rabu, Selasa and their kits, Enam and Jakarta.

Let’s hope love prevails and we can add a litter of otter pups to their exhibit this year!

Melissa Leo - Perth Zoo Media and Communications Officer