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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
Watch our otter-cam
Live from Rocky Shores!
Our brand-new sea otter web cam lets you watch otter cuteness for hours.

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

Zoolights is coming!

Traditional Zoolights returns Nov. 27 – Jan. 3, with health and safety precautions.   Zoolights will return this holiday season to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium with new safety protocols and the traditional light displays that have lit up the community for the past 32 years. “We are thrilled to continue the longstanding tradition of … Continued

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Celebrating Sea Otters

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is home to three sea otters in the Rocky Shores habitat. Every September, one week is dedicated to bringing awareness to sea otters. Sea otters are endangered, having been hunted nearly to extinction for their thick fur. Now protected, they are still at great risk from oil spill, parasites that … Continued

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Rockfish Recompression

Aquarist John Foster cradled the vermilion rockfish gently in two hands, submersed. Anesthetized, it lay still as veterinarian Dr. Kadie Anderson took a quick documentary photo of its eyes, which bulged to each side. Then Foster lowered the fish – now fully awake – into a water-filled container that looked something like sci-fi author Jules … 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.