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. Coronavirus

    The Post-Pandemic Urban Future Is Already Here

    The coronavirus crisis stands to dramatically reshape cities around the world. But the biggest revolutions in urban space may have begun before the pandemic.

  2. A pedestrian wearing a protective face mask walks past a boarded up building in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Governors from coast to coast Friday told Americans not to leave home except for dire circumstances and ordered nonessential business to shut their doors.
    Equity

    The Geography of Coronavirus

    What do we know so far about the types of places that are more susceptible to the spread of Covid-19? In the U.S., density is just the beginning of the story.

  3. Traffic-free Times Square in New York City
    Maps

    Mapping How Cities Are Reclaiming Street Space

    To help get essential workers around, cities are revising traffic patterns, suspending public transit fares, and making more room for bikes and pedestrians.

  4. photo: A lone tourist in Barcelona, one of several global cities that have seen a massive crash in Airbnb bookings.
    Coronavirus

    Can Airbnb Survive Coronavirus?

    The short-term rental market is reeling from the coronavirus-driven tourism collapse. Can the industry’s dominant player stage a comeback after lockdowns lift?

  5. Perspective

    Coronavirus Reveals Transit’s True Mission

    Now more than ever, public transportation is not just about ridership. Buses, trains, and subways make urban civilization possible.

×