Seattle's Child

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It’s a Girl!

This in today from the Seattle Aquarium:

SEATTLE—The Seattle Aquarium announced today that the sea otter pup born Jan. 14 at the Aquarium is a female. While the sex of a newborn animal might seem to be one of the first things the staff learns, giving the pup time to bond with its mother and the thickness of otter fur makes it hard to determine immediately.

“We’re delighted to know that the latest otter to be born in our care is a female,” said Traci Belting, curator of mammals and birds. “If the pup were a male, once it grew up it would need to be transferred so as not to cause conflicts with the father otter, Adaa. Now we know she can stay right here with her mother, Aniak, and her grandmother, Lootas.”

The pup now weighs just shy of five pounds, which is on target for 11 days old. Otters typically weigh between three and four pounds at birth.

At this stage, the pup is unnamed. The Aquarium will announce plans to invite the public to vote on possible names in the weeks ahead.

Additional facts about otter pups:

  • They nurse exclusively for about one month.
  • They begin to shed their fluffy pup fur at about six weeks; by 10 weeks, the coat will look more like that of an adult.
  • Their fluffy fur keeps the pup buoyant, so pups don’t attempt diving until after six weeks.
  • They begin to become proficient at opening shellfish—either by biting or pounding shells together on their chests—at about three months old.

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