It's an adorable zoo meet-cute!
According to a September Facebook post from Illinois' Brookfield Zoo, which the Chicago Zoological Society runs, an eager otter recently introduced themselves to a more cautious gibbon.
The two animals crossed paths at the Brookfield Zoo's Tropic Word: Asia habitat, an exhibit that features both small apes known as white-cheeked gibbons — who spend their time in the habitat's treetops — and Asian small-clawed otters that stick to frolicking around the exhibit's water features.
Brookfield Zoo recently started letting the otters access Tropic Word: Asia at the same time as the gibbons, CNN reported, so the species are getting to know each other, mainly when the apes crawl down from the trees.
A video Brookfield Zoo shared in the Facebook post about the recent gibbon-otter meeting shows a 10-month-old otter pup scampering up to an 8-year-old gibbon named Neubo, sitting at the base of a tree.
In the clip, the otter clambers next to the gibbon and starts smelling the ape's armpits and feet while repeatedly pawing the other animal. The gibbon handles the hands-on introduction by letting the otter poke around before carefully slinking away.
"He was just kind of watching cautiously but was very comfortable with the otter kind of investigating him, smelling the hair on his chest," Tim Sullivan, the curator of primates at the Brookfield Zoo, told CNN of the Neubo's reaction to the otter encounter.
Maybe this is the slow start to a beautiful interspecies friendship.