Lily, Montello, and Fisher are all healthy and adorable and, at 9 weeks old now, should be ready for swimming lessons soon.

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Cute baby animal alert!

It's a scientific fact: If you love animals (and why else would you be here?), then you really love baby animals. It doesn't matter if they come to us by surprise, or if their arrivals are eagerly anticipated, the fact remains that baby animals are some of the happiest arrivals to any zoo.

So it was with great pride that the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wis., was able to announce this week that they had welcomed the three newest members of their family to the world: a trio of baby otters! The three little river otters—two boys and a girl—were actually born Feb. 15, but now their eyes are open, they're moving about and they're ready to meet the world.

As the zoo explains in its Facebook post, it can be difficult to know when otters are pregnant, thanks to a phenomenon known as "delayed implementation." In a nutshell, delayed implementation can happen in one of two ways: In the first, a mama's body will prevent her from getting pregnant too quickly after a previous birth, giving babies enough time to properly suckle and grow before the next pregnancy starts using those nutrients. In the second, female otters can actually time their pregnancies to match up with favorable environmental conditions. So, instead of having babies in the winter when resources can be scarce, she can delay her pregnancy so she gives birth in the spring. In the case of river otters, delayed implementation can suspend a pregnancy for up to 270 days!

three newborn otters
Credit: Courtesy of Henry Vilas Zoo

Once they do become pregnant, however, otters really step on the gas, and otter babies are typically born after just 60 days.

These three babies, named Lily, Montello, and Fisher (after rivers in Wisconsin), are all healthy and adorable and, at 9 weeks old now, should be ready for swimming lessons. Raised solely by their mother, first-time mama Elva, the pups are growing fast and will be introduced to their papa, Dragonroll, once they can all safely swim, at which point, he'll teach them to throw a curve ball, or whatever it is that otter dads do.