Forget about Keyboard Cat - the Smithsonian National Zoo released video of Asian otters banging away at a keyboard like pros as part of a program to give the animals stimulating environments. (Smithsonian National Zoo)


A handful of Asian small-clawed otters brushed up on their music skills as they played  keyboard at the Smithsonian National Zoo.

In a video, put out by the Smithsonian National Zoo, the critters reached their small paws through their cages to reach the keyboard.

Zoo officials said playing music helps the animals to work on their sight, touch and hearing. It is part of the “enrichment program” for animals at the zoo that involves apes playing with apps on iPads and pandas painting.

Zoo officials said the enrichment program is meant to give animals “physically and mentally stimulating activities and environments.”

The otters have access to the keyboard about twice a month. Young lions get “husbandry training” as part of their enrichment program. The cubs are “trained to open their mouths, show their paws and practice receiving vaccinations on cue,” zoo officials wrote in an e-mail.

This Saturday, May 31, from 10 a .m. to 2 p.m. is “ Enrichment Day” at the zoo, when visitors can see animal demonstrations up close.

How did the otters sound on the keyboard?

Lots of squeaking, and it was hard to make out exactly what they were playing.