We're home to the UK's first ever breeding centre and underwater viewing pool for giant otters. It includes an undercover seating area and an amazing view from our crawl-in viewing dome.

Giant otters are an endangered species from South America and have rarely ever been bred in zoos so we're proud to be one of the few worldwide breeding sites working towards the further conservation of this wonderful species.

Only about 5,000 giant otters now exist in the wild and their numbers are in danger of going down even more as developers, miners and crop farmers take over much of the rainforests where they naturally live.

Despite otters being generally thought of as cute and playful, in the waters of the Amazon the giant otter is known as the 'river wolf' because of its large, razor sharp teeth and muscular body.

It is the biggest of all otters, mainly eating a diet of fish, which it catches with expert skill as its wing-like tail and webbed feet allow it to move rapidly through water.

Giant otters can also move quickly over land, often travelling several hundred metres to get from one area of water to another.

We opened our fabulous breeding centre in 2011 as a result of the enormous support we receive from our loyal zoo members and visitors.

Every time you bring your family and friends here to see our otters and other animals you help us to make more progress with vital wildlife conservation work to help protect the future for the species.

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Interesting facts

IUCN Status: Endangered

Where they live: South America, including Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname.

Habitat: Wetlands and rainforests

Size: 1.5-1.8m length

Weight: males up to 32kg; females up to 28kg

Threats: Habitat loss due to deforestation; hunting for their pelts; over-fishing of water sources resulting in reduced amounts of natural prey which they need for food.

Scientific name: Pteronura brasiliensis