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Zookeepers teach otters to respond to shapes and colors

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DENVER — Asian otters are getting a special kind of training at the Denver Zoo.

Zookeepers are now using “shape training” with the family of Asian small-clawed otters.

In the video, you can see a trainer hold a colored shape against the glass and say, “Station.” When the otter comes to the spot where the trainer is holding the shape, the otter gets a treat.

“They’re being trained to recognize a particular shape/color that is assigned to them, and come to it when it is presented,” zoo officials explained on YouTube.

“Because they’re very social and have a close family dynamic, it can be hard to separate just one from the rest of the family,” officials explained. “It helps if our keepers need to give a special diet to just one of them, or perform regular medical care on just one of them. This type of communication makes it less stressful for the otters in such instances!”