There is nothing cuter in the world than a baby otter cleaning its face. Nothing. If I could give birth to baby sea otters instead of baby people, I'd never stop being pregnant. I would be the Michelle Duggar of otter pups. As such, it makes perfect and absolute sense to me that the entirety of the city of Chicago is currently losing its shit over Pup 681, an abandoned baby sea otter being cared for at the Shedd Aquarium.
According to Red Eye Chicago — a publication so smitten with the City of the Big Shoulder's littlest swimmer that it featured her on its cover today — Pup 681 was discovered alone, abandoned, and crying on a central California beach on September 30th, severely underweight at only 2 lbs. Luckily, she wasn't far from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and wildlife experts there were able to successfully stabilize her over the next few weeks. She now tips the scale at just under 6 lbs and is 23 inches long. Baby-sized. Be my pet, otter.
Because sea otters teach their offspring how to swim, groom, and play, the rescued pup needs help learning to be an otter. In the video, Shedd staff can be seen fluffing the pup's fur. Here's Chicagoist with of the hard-hitting inside scoop on that.
During our visit she was fast asleep amongst her towels, occasionally wiggling around and burying her little head into a more comfortable nap position. Pup 681 currently has round-the-clock care, but what exactly does that entail? Sterling explained that it's very similar to taking care of a human baby. "They need a lot of intense care, attention, feedings every couple of hours or so." Since Pup 681 is still so young, Sterling points out she doesn't know how to groom, so the staff at the Shedd is teaching her since that is something her mom would do in the wild. "We help her groom because when she comes out of the water, her fur can be really wet, and that is how otters stay warm with really dense insulated fur. She's also really young so she'll help us out and try to learn but sometimes she just falls asleep because she gets really tired."
I cannot take it.
A Shedd Aquarium publicist told the RedEye that they're currently considering several names for the pup.