Seattle Aquarium

Rescued Sea Otter Pups Get a Second Chance At Shedd Aquarium


The Shedd Aquarium welcomed two orphaned Southern Sea Otter pups that were rescued by the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

The pups, temporarily referred to as Pups 870 and 872, will remain behind the scenes for a few months as they reach important developmental milestones and build bonds with the care staff and the other Otters at Shedd before they are officially introduced to the Otter habitat.

BRH_9583Photo credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez 
Video credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Sam Cejtin

The Otter pups arrived at Shedd on Monday, July 8 and have been thriving behind the scenes, receiving around the clock care from Shedd’s animal care and veterinary teams. Both Otter pups are male and only one week apart in age and born in mid-May. Pup 872 is younger and weighs 13.4 pounds. Pup 870 weighs in at 17 pounds. 

The Otters were both taken in by Monterey Bay Aquarium and deemed non-releasable by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This designation means that because the pups weren’t mother-raised and taught how to survive in the wild, they would not be successful if released into their natural habitat. Shedd offered to provide a home for the pups because Monterey Bay’s successful Sea Otter surrogacy program is currently at capacity with other pups in need.

Pup 870 was discovered stranded on May 18 near Stillwater Cove in Carmel Bay.  While the pup was clinically healthy, attempts to locate the mother were unsuccessful, and staff did not want to risk leaving the pup vulnerable and alone.

The second pup, Pup 872, was brought in two days later, on May 20. Pup 872 was found distressed and vocalizing in high winds and heavy surf at Asilomar State Beach. The pup was shivering, hypothermic and its coat was filled with sand – suggesting it was tossed in the surf. The decision was made to immediately take in the pup for stabilization and no further attempts were made to locate a mother.

Read the rest of the pups' story and see more photos below!

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Update! It's a Girl Otter Pup


Remember the Sea Otter pup from the Seattle Aquarium? You can read all about the birth and see pictures in our ZooBorns article from January 16. At that time, the baby was only two days old, having come into the world on January 14. The mother otter, Aniak, and her baby have stayed so close together that the sex of the baby was unknown.

But recently Aniak's pup got her first vet exam. She was weighed and examined while mom stayed near, happily eating some fish, allowing the vet to determine that the baby is a female. See it all in the video below.

Photo Credit: Seattle Aquarium

Seattle's Brand New Sea Otter Pup Bonds With Mom

Seattle Sea Otter Pup2

The Seattle Aquarium announced Saturday the birth of a new Sea Otter pup at its facility on Pier 59 in Seattle. The young Otter was born Saturday Jan. 14 just before 5:00AM to the mother otter Aniak—who herself was born at Seattle Aquarium in 2002.

“We are so excited to welcome this new creature into the Aquarium family,” said Traci Belting curator of mammals and birds. “We’ll be observing the mother and pup round the clock to evaluate the health of each in the days ahead.”

Seattle Sea Otter Pup3

Seattle Sea Otter Pup

Because Sea Otter pups stay so close to their mothers in the days after birth and because Otter fur is so thick, Aquarium staffers do not yet know whether the pup is a male or a female. Close monitoring of mother and pup by an “otter watcher” team will continue for at least four weeks.

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