It was “love at first sight” when two bereaved otters found love again after their keepers matched them up using a lonely hearts ad.
Staff at Sea Life Scarborough, North Yorkshire, sent out a touching plea on behalf of 16-year-old Pumpkin after her long-term partner Eric died.
They said they could not believe how well it went after 10-year-old Harris’s keepers spotted the advert at his home at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary in Gweek.
Harris had also recently lost his partner Apricot, and was as lonely as Pumpkin, the centre said.
He was taken up to Scarborough and the two have been inseparable since they met.
Aquarist Rose German said: “Otters are social animals. They really do need company.
“Pumpkin was pining. She missed Eric and she just needed a bit of love. So we put out an advert.
“He was also very lonely, looking for company.
“He was raring to meet her, squeaking at the cage door. So we thought, ‘let’s just try it’, and it was love at first sight.
“They both immediately went to each other – having a little sniff and rubbing against each other. It was a textbook perfect introduction.”
The centre said Pumpkin found her love through otter dating site Fishing for Love.
It said the introduction of Asian short-clawed otters can be difficult to get right and it helps to introduce a new male into a female’s territory.
Sea Life Scarborough reopened its doors on Wednesday after the national lockdown was lifted.
Tamara Cooper, curator at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary said: “We are absolutely delighted that Pumpkin and Harris are getting on so well and he has settled in so quickly.
“He is very much missed here at the sanctuary but after everything Pumpkin and Harris have been through with losing their partners, it is the perfect fairytale ending for them to have found love again.”