What's cuter than cats playing piano? Otters playing piano. Asian small-clawed otter paws fly across the keyboard as part of an animal enrichment course.

You Otter Believe These Zoo Animals Can Play the Piano, the Harmonica and the Xylophone

D.C.’s hottest summer concert is brought to us by an unlikely source: a bevy of animal musicians


All great musicians are misunderstood at first...unless they're as cute as these performers.

A group of the National Zoo's Asian Small-Clawed Otters recently performed a genre (and species) shattering song: a discordant, eight-pawed keyboard jam that will guarantee a loyal fan base at the Smithsonian, if not a Carnegie Hall spotlight.

The maestros get to flex their musical muscles (and claws) as part of an exercise in "animal enrichment"—activities designed to stimulate their sight, touch and hearing senses.

But the otters aren't the only ones cutting their first demo tapes. One of the Zoo's orangutans channelled her inner Teddy Brown on a xylophone, and a sloth bear cub did her best Billy Joel impersonation with a heartfelt harmonica solo.

Here's hoping that Bao Bao will soon get a trombone.

For more updates on the National Zoo's animal enrichment, follow them on Twitter at @NationalZoo and search for #ZooEnrichment


Sloth bear cub Remi plays harmonica as part of an animal enrichment program at the Smithsonian National Zoo. The activity encourages the same behavior sloth bears in the wild use to suck insects out of their nests
About Kirstin Fawcett
Kirstin Fawcett

Kirstin Fawcett reports on the collections, exhibitions, new research and other happenings around the Smithsonian Institution.

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