Featured Image Credit: Alan Berner, The Seattle Times
Rialto, a rescued otter was once a sickly pup is restored back to health at the Seattle Aquarium.
Found on Rialto Beach by beachgoers, the Seattle Aquarium took him in on Aug. 1, 2016, and a month and a half later, he was transported to his permanent home at the Vancouver Aquarium.
Rialto was once the size of a placemat but is now as big as a 6-month old Labrador retriever pup. From being rescued from a young age he has become accustomed to human interaction from the beginning but found no problem adjusting to being with other otters in the aquarium habitat.
“To see him go from a hand-raised pup to a real otter, interacting with other otters, has been so rewarding,” says Kristi Heffron, a senior marine-mammal trainer at the Vancouver Aquarium.
Rialto is now a high-energy sea otter who loves to spend time with his pals. When he is not eating, he is often found zooming around his tank, hopping on rocks and swirling, twirling, and diving in the water with his BFF Hardy.
“He’s just so curious and playful,” says Heffron.
Being a growing boy, Rialto eats six meals a day. Eating is one way for sea otters to keep their body temperatures up.
Another way sea otters keep their body temperatures up is maintaining the heat-trapping insulation of their thick fur. Rialto is constantly seen grooming himself to stay warm.
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