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Field Notes

Covering the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest

January 17, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Snow place like home for sea otter pup at Seattle Aquarium

Creatures of the north, the sea otters at the Seattle Aquarium are right at home with the snow dusting their abode at the Seattle Aquarium. Northern sea otter Aniak’s newborn pup, who arrived about 5 a.m. Saturday, is wearing a baby blanket of white as she floats about with her mom Tuesday morning.

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The new sea otter pup at the Seattle Aquarium wears a dusting of snow on Tuesday. Photo courtesy, Seattle Aquarium

The pup is vocalizing and nursing and Aniak is grooming her baby fastidiously. No word yet on the gender of the pup, who also still needs a name. Suggestions?

Puff? Fluff? Or something more … rugged and northern sounding?

Here’s the latest from expert Traci Belting at the aquarium, on how the pup is doing Tuesday:

“We were able to weigh the pup this morning and it weighed 3.47 lbs which is average for a 3 day old pup. Aniak is being an incredibly good mother and everything is right on track as far as the behavioral data we have been collecting during our round the clock observations. The pup has some healthy lungs since visitors and staff have heard the classic high pitched squeals characteristic of baby sea otters. The pup usually vocalizes if mom has set it down somewhere and it wants to be picked up or if its hungry and wants to nurse.

“The pup’s fur is so thick that gender determination is based on watching it urinate. While the pup is lying on its back, if we see urine spouting up into the air we know it’s a boy. If the only urination is observed between the rear flippers its a girl. Preliminary observations seem to indicating the pup might be a girl but we won’t be sure until we can confirm a few more observed urinations.

That’s all for now.”

Here is the pup in another photograph from this morning, hanging around with mom:

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Being a sea otter pup mostly means lots of grooming to maintain the natal pelage that keeps the pup buoyant. Photo courtesy Seattle Aquarium.

The otters are blissfully unaware of all this fuss about Snowmageddon, Seattle style. Being from up north has its advantages.



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Taking it easy at the Seattle Aquarium. Let it snow, let it snow. Photo courtesy Seattle Aquarium

Maybe more video tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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