Southern sea otters Ivy, Kit and Gidget hanging out in their spa on exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Enjoy the antics of our playful southern sea otters as they romp, tumble and wrestle like they do in the wild. On the second floor of the exhibit you can watch them swim at the surface, while first-floor windows give an underwater view of their lively acrobatics.

Our spirited sea otters came to us as rescued animals and are no longer able to survive in the wild. Each of our animals is occasionally off exhibit, acting as a companion or mentor to other stranded otters as part of our Sea Otter Program.

Meet Our Sea Otters

Abby a sea otter at the Monterey Bay Aquarium


Abby was rescued as a newborn in July 2007 by the Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Rescue Center and raised at SeaWorld San Diego, where she became a popular exhibit otter. She was transferred to the Aquarium in June 2012 to join the sea otter exhibit and became a surrogate mother to her first pup, Sina, in January 2013.

To spot Abby, look for the all-brown otter sticking out her tongue! She likes playing with artificial kelp, taking ice baths and eating frozen treats. She also grew attached to towels as a young pup. Abby likes being touched on the head, chest and back, and even waits at the door before feeding sessions.

Sea otter Gidget on exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium


Gidget was found stranded on Morro Strand State Beach in San Luis Obispo County in October 2008 as a 10-week-old pup. She was rescued by volunteers from The Marine Mammal Center and a California Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist, and then taken to the Aquarium for care.

She was declared non-releasable and was transferred to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, where she was raised. In January 2013, at four years old, Gidget came back to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to join the sea otter exhibit. She's since become a surrogate mother and mentor to wild pups. She keeps busy with toys and enrichment activities. You can recognize her by her grizzled face.

Sea otter Ivy on exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium


Ivy was found stranded in November 2011 on Cayucos State Beach in San Luis Obispo County as a two-week-old pup. She was cared for by Sea Otter Program staff for seven weeks, and then introduced to Toola—the Aquarium's most experienced surrogate mother at the time. After a number of factors interfered with her timely release, Ivy was declared non-releasable by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Ivy formally joined the sea otter exhibit in December 2012 at just over one year old and is now a surrogate mother to pups behind the scenes. She's the youngest otter on exhibit, earning the nickname "wild child" by Aquarium staff because of her liveliness during training. Ivy is named after a character in John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath.

Sea otter Kit on exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium


Kit was found stranded in Morro Bay Harbor in January 2010 at five weeks old. A California Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist rescued her and, based on authorization from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, she was not released to the wild. In 2010 Kit became the youngest sea otter pup ever to go on exhibit at the Aquarium—just 11 weeks old—learning critical otter skills like cracking clams and eating live crab without getting bit! In June 2012 she was transferred to SeaWorld San Diego where she continued to mature and learn how to socialize with other exhibit animals.

In January 2013, at three years old, Kit returned to the Aquarium to become a surrogate mother and mentor to pups behind the scenes. The chocolate-brown otter, named after a character in John Steinbeck's The Wayward Bus, is one of our biggest otters and weighs about 50 pounds.

Rosa a sea otter at the Monterey Bay Aquarium


Rosa's our oldest sea otter. She was found stranded between Sunset and Manresa State Beaches in southern Santa Cruz County in September 1999, only about four weeks old and weighing just over five pounds. In April 2000 she was released back to the wild where she spent nearly two years until she began interacting with divers and climbing onto kayaks. Because of the potential risks to herself and people, federal wildlife officials declared her non-releasable.

Rosa joined the sea otter exhibit in June 2002. During her years at the Aquarium she's put her maternal instincts to work—she's reared 12 pups and is our most experienced surrogate mother on exhibit. She's our largest otter, and you can also identify her by the silvered-colored fur on her head and white freckles. After a feeding, you can often see her stashing leftovers on the deck. She gets her name from a character in John Steinbeck's Tortilla Flat—the first of the author's novels set on Cannery Row.

Behind the scenes care of a sea otter pup

Saving Sea Otters

Our Sea Otter Program has been studying the threatened southern sea otter since 1984 with the aim of understanding threats to the population and promoting its recovery. We rescue, treat and release injured otters; raise and release stranded pups through our surrogate program; seek homes for sea otters that can't return to the wild; and conduct scientific research.
Learn more about our Sea Otter Program

Cool Facts

  • Sea otters have the world's densest fur—up to a million hairs per square inch! (You have 100,000 hairs or less on your whole head.)
  • Sea otters live in loose-knit groups called rafts. Otters in rafts often sleep side-by-side, wrapped in strands of kelp so that they don't drift far from each other.
  • Training and "enrichment" games keep our otters mentally and physically stimulated; they also make working with the otters safer for us and less stressful for them.

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