: Sea otter pup :
Species: Northern Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris)
  Narrative

10-17-12: Multiple callers to the Centerís Stranding Hotline reported the sea otter pup on the road near Mud Bay at the base of the Homer spit. The Homer Stranding Network, a group of ASLC volunteers trained to assist with this type of situation, was called by the Center to investigate. After efforts to locate the mother were unsuccessful, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service authorized the pupís rescue. Due to the maternal care required by young otters, pups this age are non-releasable.

10-18-12: The pup arrived at the ASLC's I.Sea.U critical care unit late last night. An initial veterinary examination showed the female pup to be mildly dehydrated but in otherwise good condition. She is estimated to be about 8 weeks old.

10-19-12: The pup is getting pretty good at suckling, and is now being fed a formula that is specially designed for sea otter pups.

10-20-12: Sea otters this young consume approximately 35% of their body weight every day. They have an extremely high metabolism, which plays a major role in keeping them warm. This pup is being fed a high calorie diet every two hours in order to keep up with her metabolic needs.

10-21-12: The pup seems to be growing accustomed to her new surroundings. Her daily routine goes something like this: Sleep, eat, swim, groom, repeat. She is pretty good at grooming, but still needs the assistance of her caretakers armed with some fluffy towels.

10-23-12: Today the pup got her own big fish tote to swim in. She loves to dive in 2 foot deep pool, and pick up toys off the bottom! Very young sea otter pups can't dive at all, due to their fluffy, ultra-buoyant pup coat. This little girl has already hit her "able to dive" milestone.

10-25-12: This has been a big week for the sea otter pup. Today she has been introduced to clams, and she loves them! She will be getting small pieces of clam at every feed, in addition to the sea otter formula she's already been getting.

10-28-12: The pup has been sleeping in the water more frequently. Between the grooming that she does on her own and the help from her caretakers, her coat looks great!

10-31-12: Happy Halloween! Instead of getting candy tonight, the sea otter pup will be eating tasty meals of otter formula, clams and squid pieces.

11-3-12: The pup is outgrowing her enclosure quickly! She will soon be moving to a different area of the ASLC, where she will have access to a much larger pool and haul out area. This is exciting news for her, but unfortunately she will not be in a public viewing area. Stop by this weekend if you're in Seward to get one more glimpse of this girl in the I.Sea.U!

11-7-12: Even though she's just a few months old, the otter pup is already beginning to learn a few basic trained behaviors. She's fantastic at stationing. This mean she positions herself in a particular way in order to receive her food.

11-9-12: Today's the big day! The pup has moved to her new location at the SeaLife Center, where she has a much larger pool that she can swim and dive in whenever she wants! So far, she is loving all the free swim time.

11-11-12: As she gets older, the pup's diet is changing. She now gets an increased amount of solids - squid and clam pieces.

11-15-12: Most of the otter pup's baby coat has been replaced with a brand new adult coat of fur. She has been grooming herself well, and needs less assistance from her caretakers as time goes on.

11-18-12: Today the otter is starting a new feeding schedule. She will be alternating feeds every three hours between solids and formula.

11-22-12: Happy Thanksgiving! No turkey for this pup - she's just been chowing down on her formula, squid and clams.

11-25-12: The sea otter pup had a veterinary check-up last week, and the results are in. Everything looked great!

11-28-12: The pup is now fully weaned, and is eating entirely solid food.

12-6-12: In addition to clams and squid, the pup is now receiving small amounts of shrimp and crab as part of her diet. She seems to enjoy the new variety.

12-9-12: The pup is growing fast - her body weight has doubled since she came to the center in October.

12-20-12: Happy Holidays! The otter is spending her holiday season eating, sleeping and playing hard!

12-29-12: With up to 1 million hair follicles per square inch, sea otters have the most dense fur coat of any mammal. The health of their coat is extremely important, as otters don't have a layer of blubber to keep them warm like other marine mammals do. This pup is a fantastic groomer, keeping her fur clean and filled with an insulating layer of air to protect her from the cold water.

3-21-13: The sea otter pup has made it to her new home at the Vancouver Aquarium!

 



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