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Twitch’s newest hot tub streamers are adorable otters

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A group of Asian small-clawed otters Photo: Getty Images
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

On Friday, Twitch announced a new category for people who stream while wearing swimsuits called Pools, Hot Tubs, and Beaches. And while sure, many of the swimsuit-clad streamers can be found in the recent category, a new kind of content creator has started to exploit the hot tub meta: adorable rescued otters.

The Marine Mammal Rescue Centre in Vancouver, and four of its rescued otters, technically have their livestream within the hot tub category. If you watch the stream, you’ll see they do all sorts of cute stuff like splash around, flip underwater, and gnaw on their toys. If they’re not active they might also chill by floating on their backs. They all just do their own little otter thing.

While it’s hilarious to see them next to all the people hanging out in their swimsuits, it’s actually a really clever use of the category. The grouping is new, and while many probably go to it looking for conventional hot tub streams, it seems to be grabbing attention for the otters. At the time of press the little otters had roughly 1,700 viewers with the channel being the third most-watched under the category.

Animals on Twitch are nothing new, of course. A game reserve in South Africa hosts a livestream featuring wild animals like leopards and baby warthogs and the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago shared videos of its penguins touring around the museum. But part of what sets the otters apart is that the handler managing the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre stream has leaned into the controversial hot tub category. The title of the broadcast jokes that the animals have the “THICCEST FUR” and that it’s the “HOTTEST” stream, referencing how human streamers format their broadcasts in all caps, if not endless emojis.

The otter livestream is a fun, cute way to connect people to animals at a time when it’s been hard to go to a zoo or aquarium.