Adorable Otters Caught Stealing Blue Crabs for Midnight Snack

A group of mischievous river otters has been caught looting an aquarium's crabs in the dead of night.

The findings come after an employee of the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island noticed that their crab pots had been raided overnight and set up a camera to catch the culprits. The efforts resulted in a video, found here, that highlights the otters' hilarious antics.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, North American river otters are known for their "playful" personalities. The semi-aquatic mammals have "thick, protective fur to help them keep warm while swimming in cold waters .... short legs, webbed feet for faster swimming, and a long, narrow body and flattened head for streamlined movement in the water."

The organization added that river otters can stay underwater for an astounding eight minutes at a time. Underwater, they use their long whiskers to "to detect prey in dark or cloudy water" and use their clawed feet to grab and hold onto prey.

River otters are social creatures known for "snow and mud sliding, tail chasing, water play, and snow burrowing activities"—all of which are activities that "help strengthen social bonds and let young otters practice hunting techniques."

The footage, posted to social media by the North Carolina Aquarium on Tuesday, features many of these playful bonding activities. The river otters run around the dock, chase each other, and even do what the aquarium calls "their cute poop dance"—a wiggling motion as they defecate. A blue heron also stops on the dock, making a brief cameo in the footage.

Towards the end of the video, one otter manages to get up close and personal with the camera, appearing to nudge it until it falls backward.

River Otter
A river otter at a zoo in Seattle, 2006. GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

"The mystery of the empty crabpot is solved! River otters have been snacking on blue crabs while hanging out on our soundside educational dock," explained the aquarium in their Facebook post. "They really let us know what they think of the trail camera at the end."

While the otters may have been responsible for the stolen crabs, the aquarium noted that the creatures are a welcome presence in the habitat. "​​This activity is also exciting to see because river otters are an indicator species, meaning their presence is a sign of a healthy local ecosystem," they wrote.

Newsweek has attempted to contact the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island for further comment.