(Screenshot, Smithsonian National Zoo)

This video of otters playing the piano will warm your heart and hurt your ears

The National Zoo is "enriching" its animals with musical instruments and art supplies


Lindsay Abrams
May 29, 2014 1:29AM (UTC)

The National Zoo is in the middle of a program it's calling "zoo enrichment," which basically entails giving art and music supplies to animals and seeing what happens. It's pretty fantastic, as this video of piano-playing otters attests:

The Smithsonian claims that this is about more than engineering viral videos: Enrichment activities are "designed to allow animals to demonstrate their species-typical behavior, to allow them exercise control or choice over their environment and to enhance their well-being," the zoo explained on YouTube. "While they wouldn't encounter a keyboard in the wild, the activity engages their sight, touch and hearing senses."

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To that end, they've also got parrots painting, bears and elephants playing the harmonica and gorillas participating in a heart disease study (less fun). Be sure to check out the orangutan -- she isn't half bad at the xylophone:

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Lindsay Abrams

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

National Zoo Otters Smithsonian Video Wildlife Zoo

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