Virtual Animals at Audubon Aquarium of the Americas: The Southern Sea Otter

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AUDUBON AQUARIUM OF THE AMERICAS, NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA– As the weather heats up, many of us are ready to hit the surf! However, we aren’t the only ones ready for a summer swim. There are many wonderful characters who inhabit the aquarium. One such animal is the southern sea otter also known as the California sea otter. Kristine Grzenda is a curator with Audubon’s Aquarium. She knows a great deal about the animals who live in the world with us says “these otters are from California and live specifically in the northern coast, just south of San Francisco to Santa Barbara in central California.”

Sea Otters live in single sex groups called rafts, where males live in bachelor pads by themselves and bachelorettes live in a raft with themselves. This means females (and their young) and males will live in separate rafts. A raft can contain anywhere from 10 to more than 100 sea otters.

Clara and Ruby are two otters who live in New Orleans’s aquarium. They are named after figures in author, John Steinbeck’s novels. As a sidenote, Steinbeck is famous for his stories depicting Monterey, CA. Monterey is right in the heart of today’s sea otter population and also the home of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Audubon Aquarium of the America’s are part of a large organization that helps to preserve planet earth’s animals. Monterey Bay Aquarium hosts the southern sea otter rescue program and has done so since the 1980’s. Clara and Ruby came from the Monterey Bay Aquarium to live in New Orleans to be ambassadors of their species and help spread the message that all animals need both our help and our absence in their wild habitats.

Just like us, sea otters are famous holding hands, however they do it for different reasons other than other own. While holding hands is a sign of affection in humans, for sea otters it keeps them from drifting apart helps them keep their paws warm. Sea otters have very dense fur for insulation that is thickest towards the center of their bodies and gets thinner at their paws and flippers. To learn more about Clara and Ruby please click here.


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