Otter Twins!

It's hard to know which part of this story is most exciting- the fact that otter twins were born at Point Lobos or the rescue effort on the part of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Sea Otter Research and Conservation program.

Otter twins are thought to be an extremely rare occurence. A mother otter cannot support two pups in the wild. On Friday, February 27, Point Lobos visitor Ned Groth reported twin otters in Whalers Cove to docent Paul Reps. After several attempts to convince Paul that there actually were twins, Ned produced his camera with proof. Here's the full story of what took place afterwards, from Paul.

Images by visitor Ned Groth.







"Visitors alerted us to the birth of twin otter pups today! Mom was straining to handle the two pups and we could see that she was overtaxed! A diver’s boat was coming in after a dive and caused her to panic and she grabbed one pup, leaving the other on a rock where she had hauled out to care for her two new little ones!

Left to right: Mother with twins on rocks, by Chuck Bancroft. Mother with one twin on belly, other beneath her in crevice, by Chuck Bancroft. Single pup wedged between rocks prior to rescue, by Paul Reps.

The one that was left to fend for himself fell off the rock and into the crevisses and was being beaten by the incoming high tide! I called Sea Otter Research and Conservation (SORAC) and they sent a team out for the rescue, a Zodiak, kayak, two SORAC members and someone to document the rescue.

Karl Mayer, Sea Other Research and Conservation, with the pup. Image by Paul Reps.









The good news, the less-than-a-day-old male pup was saved, but mom was hearing her second pup and started to “freak out” over hearing him. She was trying to approach the boat to get him back, but once he was on land she tended to the pup she choose to “save”.

Karl Mayer, Sea Other Research and Conservation, with the pup. Image by Paul Reps.






After a quick exam, we were told by the rescuers that it was a confirmed male, born sometime today, and was in need of immediate support as neither pup was receiving 100% of Mom’s resources and support for food and care.

Left to right: Mother taking one pup, by Chuck Bancroft. Mother and Pup the day after, by Fred Brown.





Many visitors cheered, cried tears of joy, one couple said it was their first time at the Reserve and asked, “is it always like this?”  After a hearty laugh, I advised them to by a lottery ticket, as this was a once in a lifetime event!""

This was a strenuous event for both pups. The abandoned pup, otter 696, is now receiving care at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Angela Hains, Public Relations Manager, sent us this update on Wednesday. "He is still in intensive care and will continue to be for a few weeks. Twins are born smaller than normal and considering he was approximately one day old, he didn’t get a lot of mom’s milk or colostrum which helps protect pups, so he is being treated as a critical case. The current plan for 696 is to raise him behind the scenes in the aquarium’s Sea Otter Program for eventual release to the wild. In a couple of months, he’ll be paired with a surrogate mom, most likely, Rosa (who is currently the aquarium’s most prolific sea otter surrogate). Rosa will teach him all the skills he needs to survive in the wild."

We will be following the progress on both pups, and this page will be updated as we receive more news. Please check back with us!