Uno, a North American river otter, has joined the Grandfather Mountain family.

The otter pup came to the mountain in November 2017, having been found orphaned in the Asheville area. In April, he was brought to a Lincolnton, N.C.-based wildlife rehabilitator, the same who helped rehabilitate four of Grandfather’s other river otters.

Uno was estimated to be between six and eight weeks old at the time, and at such a young age, river otters don’t yet know how to swim. Their eyes only start opening around five weeks of age. Uno received one-on-one swimming lessons, with the intention of releasing him back into the wild.

However, according to Christie Tipton, chief habitats curator at Grandfather Mountain, Uno was just too friendly to be released, and that his affection toward humans would prove dangerous in the wild. So Uno is now at Grandfather and is being introduced to the other otters at the habitat.

Although Uno is not currently on display, guests to Grandfather Mountain can meet him through one of the park’s behind-the-scenes tours, offered April through October.

You can learn more about the tours, and how you can support Uno and other animals at the habitats by visiting online,