If you're a power utility worker in Phoenix, the last thing you probably expect to find in a drying-up canal is a baby otter.
But this was exactly what employees of the Salt River Project (SPR) found on April 20: an utterly (otterly?) adorable baby otter that was "pretty exhausted," Craig Boggs, one of the SPR employees, told KPNX-TV. "He would go under water and come back up and fight a little bit more. He was calling for his momma, we assumed, because — being a baby."
The 4-week-old otter was so tiny and weak that it couldn't make it up the stairs, which is how other animals escape if they fall in.
After the rescue, SPR employees contacted the Arizona Game and Fish Wildlife Center to tend to the infant critter. It was starving and infested with fleas, so it got a thorough scrubbing and was fed trout mash mixed with kitten's milk — you know, everything a growing otter needs.
Following its rehabilitation, the otter was transported to the Out of Africa Wildlife Park, where it will likely remain.
As for how the otter ended up in the canal, it's theorized that the otter's family lived somewhere near the dam that diverts water into the canal. When the river began drawing down, the family made for new ground, but the little one couldn't keep up and ended up in the canal.