BILLINGS – ZooMontana has raised $5,215 of the $7,000 needed to financially support an unexpected litter of four otter pups born on Feb. 19.

Mia, one of zoo’s two North American River Otters, rejected the litter for unknown reasons, which put a strain on the zoo’s winter budget.

Donations go to food, essential equipment, and veterinary care for the baby otters.

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The four pups were small, each weighing between three and four ounces and were found by zookeepers after the mother hid them. They were near death from the cold but were revived and warmed by zookeepers that morning.

Zookeepers took on 24-hour feeding shifts to give the pups a fighting chance. The pups had to be fed every three hours around the clock.

North American River otters are members of the weasel family. They hunt at night and feed on whatever might be available. Fish are a favorite food, but they also eat amphibians, turtles, and crayfish.

It typically takes five weeks until the pups eyes open.

If you are interested in donating to help with the care of the pups, contact ZooMontana at (406) 652-8100 or send donations to 2100 S. Shiloh Rd., Billings, 59106.

You can also click here to donate through Facebook.