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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 the Keepers
You really otter.
Meet our keepers every day at 3pm at the Marine Mammal Keeper Chat. 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
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 speaking out against off-shore oil drilling, choosing sustainable seafood and reducing the amount of plastic you use.

Marine Stories

Counting shoreline trash

It was a sunny Saturday in Tacoma – perfect for the beach. But as Zach Hawn and Kailee Bynum picked their way across Owen Beach with five Zoo volunteers, they weren’t just there for the weather. They were there to count and clean up trash, joining dozens of walkers, kayakers and even divers in the … Continued

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A Tidal Surge of Support

As a young boy watches, face pressed to the glass wall, a flood of bubbly white water gushes through the Tidal Surge habitat. As water washes over them, green anemones wave and pink sea stars cling to the rocks. The bubbles subside and the boy stares, enthralled – even before he’s set foot inside the … Continued

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Red wolf pups meet the vet

PUPDATE! – NAME THE PUPS Help choose names for our eight adorable red wolf pups. Take the survey HERE.   When Dr. Karen Wolf picks up eight newborn red wolf pups one by one, it’s more than just a routine – though adorable – new pup exam. It’s a victory. “American red wolves are critically … 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.