Caring for Rialto takes a lot of time and energy! Here’s what a daily shift consists of:
Diet preparation and feeding. Rialto eats Esbilac puppy formula blended with water and clam, surf clam foot and shrimp (no shell or tail). The formula is prepped every shift or so by rehab staff, while the clam and shrimp are cut into little bite-sized pieces by our Birds and Mammals (BAM) team members.
He’s fed approximately every 3-4 hours during the day and every 4 hours at night—this gives him enough time to sleep between feedings. Medication is administered first, then bottle feeds, then solid food. Sometimes he’s picky and fussy, but usually he eats quite well.
Bathroom breaks. Every 1–2 hours, Rialto needs to go potty! This means putting him in the water, where he poops and pees.
Exercise. Rialto gets about four swims a day, and each is about 10 minutes long. He’s started playing and trying to flip onto his back (like a typical otter) during these sessions. He even dunks his head underwater and blows bubbles!
Grooming. After being in the water, Rialto needs to be dried and groomed, using dry towels and a fan set on low/cool. His fur quality is super important to his health, so his caretakers make sure to get the water out and towel-comb any mats in his fur.
Feeding, potty and grooming take about an hour, then he sleeps. Then he wakes up, and it starts all over again!
(And on top of all this, staff members keep towels laundered, assist with any health care procedures and update a detailed health and activity log.)
As you can see, our staff is busy working ‘round-the-clock to make sure Rialto’s happy, healthy and cared for!
Interested in learning more? Join us on Instagram next Tuesday, September 13, to follow along as BAM team member Julie Carpenter shows us a day in the life of caring for Rialto.
Make a donation!
As an accredited member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), the Aquarium is a program leader for sea otter management. You can support the Seattle Aquarium and our mission, Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment by making a donation today!
See an infographic about sea otter pup care here.