Playful Pup Meets Other Otters, Participates in Training Sessions and Picks Up Otter Skills
Shedd Aquarium’s newest rescued southern sea otter Ellie, previously known as Pup 719, is celebrating her one year anniversary of finding her forever home at Shedd Aquarium. Last January, Shedd’s Animal Response Team welcomed the seven-week-old orphaned pup and provided around-the-clock care with a team of dedicated animal trainers and veterinarians to assist her in reaching critical milestones.
Now, Ellie weighs in around 35 pounds, and she no longer needs her food sliced and diced. She has graduated to eating whole crabs along with clam, capelin, Pollock, squid and shrimp. At approximately six months old, Ellie learned how to crack open a clam, which is a rite of passage for young otters.
The otter pup has also been introduced to the aquarium’s four other otters. Ellie has formed a strong attachment to adult female otter, Mari, who is patient as the pup sniffs, grooms and hangs onto her or mimics her behaviors. Ellie is also frequently spotted with 2-year-old rescue, Luna, who is her perfect playmate as the youngsters often engage in tumble pup play.
Ellie continues to receive training from Shedd’s animal care experts. When a trainer holds a red circle at the edge of the water, Ellie swims to it or stations in preparation as she recognizes the shape and knows it’s time for her training session. After all that activity, most of the sea otters take mid-morning and afternoon naps in addition to sleeping through the night. Nowadays, Ellie spends most of her time grooming, sleeping on her “kelp” bed, playing with the other otters or on her own with toys.
VISUALS: Ellie is the darkest and smallest otter at Shedd Aquarium but continues to grow fast. The high-energy, playful pup is one of the two most kinetic otters in the habitat, but when falling asleep she sucks her paw. Photos of Ellie showcase her many milestones and Shedd’s favorite moments with the pup.
PHOTOS: High resolution photos are available for download featuring Ellie’s many milestones and Shedd’s favorite moments with the pup in her first year.
Photo credit:©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez