Never has graphic biological content been so adorable.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the world’s most famed marine institutions. (It puts out that Seafood Watch material you see everywhere explaining how to eat fish sustainably.) And as such it’s not cheap, with adult tickets going for $39.95.

But every once in a while visitors get 10 times the bang for their buck, as was the case this weekend when a wild otter swam up to the aquarium’s outdoor tidal pool, popped out a baby, and promptly began grooming its face.

The aquarium writes:

Sea otters can give birth in water or on land. You’ll notice that mom starts grooming her pup right away to help it stay warm and buoyant—a well-groomed sea otter pup is so buoyant it’s practically unsinkable!

Grooming also helps get the blood flowing and other internal systems revved up for a career of chomping on invertebrates and keeping nearshore ecosystems, like the kelp forests in Monterey Bay, and the eel grass at Elkhorn Slough, healthy.

There’s clearer, zoomed-in footage available here. Be warned: Both videos (but especially the zoomed one) get right up in the mother’s business. As the aquarium puts it, the “miracle of life is graphic!”

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A map of apartment searches in the U.S.
    Maps

    Where America’s Renters Want to Move Next

    A new report that tracks apartment searches between U.S. cities reveals the moving aspirations of a certain set of renters.

  2. Equity

    Housing Can’t Be Both Affordable and a Good Investment

    The two pillars of American housing policy are fundamentally at odds.

  3. A rendering of a co-living building in San Jose.
    Life

    The Largest Co-Living Building in the World Is Coming to San Jose

    The startup Starcity plans to build an 800-unit, 18-story “dorm for adults” to help affordably house Silicon Valley’s booming workforce.

  4. a photo of yellow vest protesters in Paris, France.
    Equity

    To Understand American Political Anger, Look to ‘Peripheral France’

    French geographer Christophe Guilluy has a controversial diagnosis of working-class resentment in the age of Trump, Brexit, and the Yellow Vests.

  5. a screenshot of a video about Baltimore's Metro
    Transportation

    It’s Time to Celebrate Baltimore’s Much-Maligned Metro

    In 1987, the Maryland Transit Administration busted out a brass band to open a subway that never had a chance.

×