It’s Sea Otter Awareness Week! Let’s spread the word!
While researching my book PUP 681: A SEA OTTER RESCUE STORY, I fell in love with sea otters and learned so many fun sea otter facts. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Sea otters have a pocket of loose skin under their forelegs where they store toys, food and their favorite rocks, which they use as tools.
- Sea otters at the Shedd love to wrap themselves up in colorful fabric carwash strips – which resemble sea kelp.
- And the cutest fact EVER! Sea otters often hold hands and make a “raft” – sometimes with hundreds or thousands of other otters – while they sleep, so they don’t drift out to sea.
PUP 681 is based on the true story of an orphaned sea otter, one of the smallest ever rescued by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Only a week old and weighing only two pounds, she was found on the California coast and ID’d as Pup 681 – the 681st otter to enter their otter program. When she was five weeks old, she was moved to her permanent home at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.
While, in my story, I’ve focused on a single caregiver, in fact, Pup 681 received round-the-clock care from several animal care experts. And while it’s unlikely that she ever got seriously sick, as portrayed in my story, sea otter pups do have trouble regulating body temperature and the process of sea otter rescue and rehabilitation is fragile and fraught with risk.
Pup 681 won the hearts of millions when her story was picked up and her videos were shared by major news networks. But she became a true celebrity when The Shedd Aquarium teamed up with Good Morning America to hold a contest for her naming. She was lovingly renamed Luna … a reminder of her original home near Half Moon Bay.
There are loads of adorable Luna videos online. Simply search under “Pup 681” or check out The Shedd Aquarium website at http://www.sheddaquarium.org/.
I’ve fallen in love with Luna. And I hope you do too!