Part 4: Seattle Aquarium assists with Hardy, the rescued sea otter

Guest post by Seattle Aquarium animal care technician Kelli Lee

At 10 weeks old, Hardy, the rescued sea otter pup at Vancouver Aquarium, weighs 18.7 pounds (8.48 kg). He’s experienced many milestones over the past week. His surf clam now includes more of the entire clam, which he is eating like a champ. He is also feeding in the water with his body parallel to the habitat deck. This body position while feeding, called “stationing,” is the first step to training. He is being rewarded with lots of tasty treats while stationed in this position. Like the sea otters at the Seattle Aquarium, Hardy will eventually participate in voluntary training sessions.

Hardy is stationing for feeding in the main sea otter habitat.
Hardy is stationing for feeding in the main sea otter habitat.

 

During the day, he has progressed to spending all his time in the main sea otter habitat, where all his feeding and grooming is taking place. With very little assisted grooming from his caretakers, he spends most of his time grooming himself in the water or on the exhibit deck. He also occupies himself by playing with enrichment toys. At night, he is provided access to both his sleeping crib and the main habitat, but soon he will graduate from his crib and spend day and night  in the main habitat—just like a big sea otter! Stay tuned for the next Hardy update!

Hardy in the main sea otter habitat.
Hardy in the main sea otter habitat.

 

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