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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. Here at Point Defiance, find our otters at Rocky Shores.
Rocky Shores
Meet the Keepers
You really otter.
Meet our keepers every day at 3pm at the Marine Mammal Talk. They’ll be somewhere around the walruses, sea lions, seals or otters – bring your questions and watch them work!
See daily schedule

Meet our otters

Libby
Sekiu
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 speaking out against off-shore oil drilling, choosing sustainable seafood and reducing the amount of plastic you use.

Marine Stories

Lions, Idols and Convicts

Who’s new in the Pacific Seas Aquarium? We may have opened the Pacific Seas Aquarium in September, but we’re still adding animals every week! Swirling golden lion’s mane jellies, yellow-and-black-striped Moorish idol fish, and literally thousands of streaming, schooling, silvery herring. Here’s your sneak peek on who’s new in the aquarium. Lion’s mane jellyfish Cyanea … Continued

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Baja Diving

In clear, blue Baja Bay, three scuba divers are drifting alongside eagle rays and brightly-colored fish. They’re moving slowly, and unlike most divers in tropical waters, they’re not gazing admiringly at the animals around them. Because these divers are aquarists at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – and they’re hard at work. “We clean, we … Continued

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The Walrus Ladies

We love walruses – and especially the three walrus ladies of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium! Joan, Basilla and Kulusiq (or Kulu, for short) each have their own unique physical and personality traits, interacting with their keepers in their own special ways. For Walrus Awareness Week (Dec. 2-8), we’re celebrating our three lovely Pacific walruses. … Continued

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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.