Heart Warming Wild Otter Baby Born at Monterey Bay Aquarium

Krystian-Science-Nature-LogoThis baby otter is so cute it will melt your face off. Seriously. The Monterey Bay Aquarium received a big holiday surprise after a pregnant wild sea otter swam into its tide pool and gave birth to the cutest little pup!

Sea Otter Baby - Monterey Bay Aquarium
Sea Otter gives birth to newborn pup in Monterey Bay Aquarium Tide Pool. Photo: Tyson V. Rininger, Monterey Bay Aquarium

Apparently the mom was chilling in and around the Aquarium’s Great Tide Pool for a few days, which isn’t common for healthy otters. She had some of the Aquarium staff concerned by her behavior until she popped out a baby. 😍

The Aquarium considers the otter’s birth to be a conservation success story. Otters were once hunted to near extinction – with just 50 left in all of California by the early 1800’s. But, after legislative protection and a soft spot in the heart of people everywhere for the furry guys, the otter population has rebounded to steady levels – with 3,000 in central California alone.

otter Gif

Sea otters don’t have blubber to keep them warm in the cold water. They have a super thick fur coat instead, which they keep full of air bubbles while grooming for insulation. In the wild, sea otter moms spend a lot of time grooming their babies to keep them warm and buoyant.

Fun Fact: Sea otters have 1 million hairs per square inch—more than any other animal.


Heart Warming Wild Otter Baby Born at Monterey Bay Aquarium

Baby Sloth Bear Birth Sneaks Under the Radar in Germany

KS NatureA baby sloth bear was born at NaturZoo Rheine in Germany in December, but it was kept under wraps so the newborn could bond with its mother in peace.

Little Niko, born to his mother Devi and father Franz, greeted the world on December 6, 2014.

The first few months of a sloth bear’s life are crucial. According to NaturZoo Rheine’s Facebook page, newborn sloth bears are blind, nearly hairless, and about the size of a guinea pig. Niko spent the first few months of his life alone with his mother in a dark, sound-proof room, under the watchful eye of a hidden camera. At that age, his father is kept separate because he is considered a threat to the baby’s health.

Sloth bear births in zoos are very rare and caring for them can be challening. According to NaturZoo Rheine, there are just 25 sloth bears currently living in European zoos.

Niko is just now beginning to explore his outdoor surroundings, so stay tuned to the NaturZoo Rheine Facebook page for updates!

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Photo: National Geographic
Photo: National Geographic

The reclusive sloth bear lives in the forests of South Asia, feeding on fruits, flowers, termites, ants, and other insects. They have special long, curved claws that allow them to dig deep into nest mounds to find food.

These nocturnal animals tend to keep to themselves. They usually rock a shaggy black coat with a cream-colored snout, and their chest is occasionally marked with a light ‘V’ or ‘Y’ design.

Sloth bears can live up to 40 years in the wild and grow to be nearly 300 pounds! Unfortunately, sloth bears are incredibly vulnerable, threatened by habitat loss and sometimes capture.

Fun Fact: Sloth bears carry their cubs on their back! This is considered a unique trait among bears.