Wild Things

Watch an Orphaned Baby Sea Otter Learn How to Act Like a Sea Otter

Awwwww. That is all. The video above shows an orphaned, 6-pound female sea otter pup arriving at her new home, the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. It also shows, essentially, her first attempts at … well, being an otter.

Somehow separated from her mother near the San Francisco coast five weeks ago, the absurdly cute young pup—for now known by the placeholder name “Pup 681”—was discovered when a jogger heard her (probably soul-crushingly sad) cries for help. Per CBS News, the pup was first taken to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a top facility for sea otter rehabilitation, before an arrangement was made for her to be sent to Shedd permanently.

Now that she’s there, her new aquarium family will need to collectively fill the role of the pup’s mother. The first order of business? “We have to teach her to groom,” Christy Sterling, Shedd’s assistant supervisor of penguins and otters, told CBS Chicago. “We’ll put her on a white towel and get a white washcloth and she kind of has picked up on working on spots herself, but we’ll help out as well and she’ll learn to rub on the white towel and get that water out of her fur.”

In addition to the huge self-esteem boost that (likely) comes with sporting a clean, dry coat, the grooming process is also essential to her health, as sea otters are kept warm not by blubber, but rather through the insulation provided by their coats. Which makes sense, given that their fur is the thickest of all mammals.

Once she’s gotten the hang of that, one imagines she’ll move on to learning the really important things in the Standard Sea Otter Behavior playbook—like adorably holding hands with fellow otters while she sleeps.