Romeo and Juliet they were not.
For, dear reader, they were but Otters,
they of fur and fang. And hark! Hear more!
For Juliet wouldst find no sister here,
for these loves were brave and happy males!
An otter typically lives to a ripe old age of 14, at the outside. But as with humans, if you’re an otter in love, you can stretch the odds. And so it was for Daz and Chip, who lived to be 19 and 16, respectively. And that’s not even half of their story.
For the last 15 years, this happy pair were inseparable. And if you think their fur and grooming looks particularly spectacular, you’re on to something. They were both males. And that’s not even all of the story.
In their final hours together, snuggling in their home at Naturelands Zoo in Nelson, New Zealand, they evidently couldn’t bear life without the otter, er, other. Neither had been feeling well (they were approaching 100 years old in human years), and much to the collective grief of the zoo keepers, the otters died, together, on the same night last month. It’s thought the second heartbroken animal passed away from the stress of watching his mate die.
“It brought a tear to my eye and it’s making me well up now,” said Gail Sutton, a handler at the zoo.
Staff at the zoo hope to introduce new otters to the park as part of their breeding program. Should breeding be their focus, however, they may want to locate a different kind of otter altogether.
If sweet animal stories delight you as they do me, may I direct you to the warmest three minutes available on YouTube, which is the story of the elephant Tara and her loyal companion, Bella. Just watching the clip will increase your t-cells.