Seattle Aquarium event celebrates affectionate sea otters

Apr 5, 2013

Seattle Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Mania series this begins weekend a celebration of its four sea otters: Lootas, Adaa, Aniak, and Sekiu.

The celebration involves a weekend of special talks, demonstrations, and hands-on activities for kids all focusing on the sea otters. 

The youngest sea otter, Sekiu, made quite a splash when she was born last year to Adaa and Aniak. During Sekiu’s early days, the public had a chance to witness first-hand the intimate bond that exists between the pup and her mother.

It appears all four of the sea otters are quite close and affectionate. When Lootas returned from a 5-month stay at the Oregon Zoo, Adaa greeted her with affection in an exchange captured on video.

Lootas, the oldest sea otter at 15, was found orphaned as a pup in Alaska and brought to the aquarium for care. Adaa, 13, moved into the aquarium after being found on an airport runway. Aniak, like Sekiu, was born at the aquarium. 

Sea otters spend about 15 hours a day grooming, “and they’re not just doing it to look good!” according to the aquarium’s website.

They “rub, comb and rake their fur with their forepaws and lick the fur with their coarse tongue” to trap tiny air bubbles in their fur for insulation, the site said.

Unlike other marine mammals, sea otters don’t have layer of blubber, the aquarium said. Instead, they rely on a thick fur and a high metabolism for warmth, and need to eat about 25 percent of their weight—or 15 to 20 pounds of food—each day.

Marine Mammal Mania continues next weekend with a focus on northern fur seals, followed by a celebration of wild orcas the following weekend.