Otters have the time of their lives frolicking in the snow

Otters Oscar and Nova play in the snow at North Carolina's Grandfather Mountain. (Alexis Rowe | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation)

Move over, Tian Tian the panda. You have some competition for "cutest snow-loving critter."

Otters at North Carolina's Grandfather Mountain love the snow, and they have quite a bit of it to play in after the first major winter storm of 2016 pushed across the East Coast. The wildlife sanctuary remained closed Sunday due to inclement weather, but they made it up to potential visitors by sharing a video of the otters' playtime.

Nova, 2, and Oscar, 23 months, carry balls in their mouths, slide down snowy slopes and even show off their snow-covered noses by scampering up the wall of snow to investigate the camera. A second video shows their otter friend Luna, 5, demonstrating another adorable way otters play in the snow: sliding across it on their bellies.

Playtime is about more than just having fun for these North American River Otters, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

"Their playful snow and mud sliding, tail chasing, water play and snow burrowing activities also serve other purposes -- they help strengthen social bonds and let young otters practice hunting techniques," the NWF explains on its site.

And good news for those trying to see these adorable winter-lovers in person: The park has officially opened back up.
Related Topics:
petscute animalssnowviral videomountainsu.s. & world