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Sea otter

Did you know?

Enhydra lutris

Otters love to play and extremely dexterous – they can use their paws to open clam shells and explore objects. Some can even stack cups!

Come sea otters!

Habitat
Wild and Zoo
Sea otters live in rocky coastal areas in shallow waters off Alaska, the Aleutian and Commander Islands, Vancouver Island, Washington and California. Find our otters at Rocky Shores.
Rocky Shores

Meet our otters

Libby
Sekiu
Moea
Eating
(and predators!)
Sea otters eat all kinds of seafood. But by eating sea urchins, they’re vital to protecting kelp forests that would otherwise be consumed by urchins.
Their main predators are sharks, orcas, eagles, coyotes and humans.
All wrapped up
in kelp.
After a 6-month pregnancy, females give birth to one pup every other year.
They will care for the pup from 6-9 months, wrapping it in kelp to keep it from drifting away.
Grooming
(it's furry hard work)
Sea otters are very social! They live in groups of up to 100 (called “rafts”), in which males and females mostly live separately.
Otters spend their day resting, searching for food or grooming their fur to keep it waterproof – it is the densest fur of any mammal, with up to 1 million hairs per square inch.

Protecting sea otters

I need my fur!

THE THREAT: Sea otters are endangered, having been hunted nearly to extinction for their thick fur. Now protected, they are still at great risk from oil spills and parasites that reach the ocean via storm drains.

TAKE ACTION: Protect all sea animals by supporting clean energy, choosing sustainable seafood and reducing the amount of plastic you use.

Marine Stories

Playing Bass for Blizzard

It wasn’t your average concert situation. Fingers chilling in the February breeze, I stood with my double bass poised on the grassy edge of a deep moat. My endpin and boots were planted in winter mud. Somewhere nearby, a bird sang. I drew my bow across the strings, beginning a low ripple and expanding out … Continued

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Sea Otter Surgery

Dr. Karen Wolf, left, and Dr. Caitlin Hadfield prepare Sekiu for surgery. NOTE: Graphic visual content further down the post. On a cold winter’s morning at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Animal Health Care, head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf did an unusual thing during surgery: She put a fresh ice pack on her patient’s chest. … Continued

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2020 Year in Photos

What a year this has been! From clouded leopard AI to a new muskox calf, from Zoolights to HeroRATs and everything in between, we’ve captured this year in our best photos of 2020.  

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Who's Nearby?
Think our otters are adorable? Meet our puffins and murres, sea birds that live just opposite in the Rocky Shores habitat.