Have you ever watched a sea otter pup emerge into the world? I sure haven't. But that's exactly what folks at Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Great Tide Pool got to witness Saturday — and now you can join them, with the miracle of online video.
Seeking shelter from Saturday's stormy seas, the mom appeared in the tide pool Saturday afternoon. And then, mama got started (if the miracle of life makes you squeamish, this video is not for you) in front of an excited crowd of Aquarium staffers and visitors:
"We’re amazed and awed to have had a chance to witness this Monterey Bay conservation success story first hand in our own backyard, " the Aquarium said on Facebook, noting that "Our sea otter researchers have been watching wild otters for years and have never seen a birth close up like this."
As with the (non-public) sea otter birth in their tide pool last December, as soon as she popped her pup, mom started busily grooming the little critter to puff up the baby's fur so he will float.
Mother and pup rest in Monterey Bay Aquarium's Great Tide Pool after the latter's birth Saturday. Photo: Monterey Bay Aquarium
"She wants to make sure it's got lots of air in that fur, the baby is going to have to float on its own in the ocean, and she wants to make sure that's happening," Aquarium trainer Dan Albro says.
As of Sunday, the duo were still floating around at the tide pool, just hanging out and being cute.
If you can't get enough otter birthing action, here are two longer versions of the video:
It’s not every day you get to watch a sea otter pup come into the world! But when a pregnant wild otter took shelter in our Great Tide Pool Saturday, we had a unique opportunity to see it happen. Sea otters can give birth in water or on land. You’ll notice that mom starts grooming her pup right away to help it stay warm and buoyant—a well-groomed sea otter pup is so buoyant it’s practically unsinkable! For more video of the birth (spoiler alert: the miracle of life is graphic!) check out our YouTube channel: http://mbayaq.co/1R0v6oD . Besides keeping the pup afloat, grooming also helps get the blood flowing and other internal systems revved up for a career of chomping on invertebrates and keeping nearshore ecosystems, like the kelp forests in Monterey Bay, and the eel grass at Elkhorn Slough, healthy.Our sea otter researchers have been watching wild otters for years and have never seen a birth close up like this. We’re amazed and awed to have had a chance to witness this Monterey Bay conservation success story first hand in our own backyard. Welcome to the world, little otter!Posted by Monterey Bay Aquarium on Sunday, March 6, 2016