If you love animals, you’ve likely dreamed of working with them in a professional capacity.
After all, what could be more fun than spending your workday with some four-legged friends? Maybe you’ve thought about becoming a veterinarian or a zookeeper.
If you love the idea of getting paid to spend time with animals, you’re going to love this option. Turns out, there’s such a thing as a professional “otter fluffer.”
At the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California, there is a dedicated team that cares for orphaned and rejected sea otter pups.
Their duties include feeding them with a bottle and (as can be seen in the video below) “fluffing them” to keep them warm, dry and buoyant. Sounds like a dream job, right?
When the otters are grown and strong enough, they are released into the wild. It’s so hard to say goodbye.
Over the past 30 years, more than 700 sea otters have come through the aquarium’s sea otter program. Sometimes the pups have a tough time adjusting to life in the ocean and must be recaptured and returned to the aquarium to rest and gain weight before they are re-released.
The BBC posted a video about the team’s work at the aquarium:
Otters are more than just adorable. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, sea otters are a keystone species, meaning they determine the kinds and health of species in nearshore environments.
They are an important part of the ecosystem and food chain. As a top predator of invertebrates along the California coast, changes in their health can alert scientists to other important changes in the ocean.
If you live near the ocean and happen to spot a stranded otter, as tempting as it is, it’s important not to attempt to touch or catch it. They can bite! Instead, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife recommends calling the following organizations if you think a sea otter needs help:
- Northern Santa Cruz Co. and north: The Marine Mammal Center: 415-289-7325
- Monterey Bay area: Monterey Bay Aquarium Security Office: 831-648-4840
- San Luis Obispo Co and south: The Marine Mammal Center: 805-771-8300