Furry Learning: Otter Days in Monterey

Discover what goes into caring for an otter, at the aquarium.

THE OCEAN'S RASCAL: Every creature in the water has something fascinating to reveal, whether they gestate for extremely long periods of time or travel great distances come spring and fall or if they're the size of the merest mote or if they're as large as a million motes (a whale, we guess, is probably about a billion motes, size-wise, give or take). But it's those ocean denizens that regularly surface, play among the waves, and come close to the shore that capture the fancy of we humans on a regular basis. And if that denizen looks a bit like a land-dweller -- say, the family pup -- and acts in a way people might call "rascally," well, then, you're probably looking at the beloved symbol for a water-close region. And the otter is just that for Monterey Bay.

YOU CAN'T STROLL BY... too many Monterey shops without seeing its whiskery mug on a t-shirt, a poster, postcards, and if you look out into the Pacific itself? You might see one, on its back, snacking on some yummy mussels. What do you know of otters, though, beyond the fact that these water-loving characters are inextricably entwined with the character of Monterey and its environs? There is lots to learn about, beyond the otter's affection for abalone and its propensity to serve as rafts, of sort, for their young. Who can tell us more? Why...

THE MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM... can, given that it is Otter HQ. Both as a home and frequent destination for the visiting marine mammals, which like the institution's Great Tide Pool, but with behind-the-scenes look at how and what otters eat. There's a whole weekend devoted to those so-called pups of the sea, on Saturday, Sept. 20 and Sunday, Sept. 21, a weekend which shall include "otter feeding and training sessions" (and other otter-y, in-the-know types of things). Are you all about otters? Be in Monterey on the last weekend of summer, and have aquarium admission handy -- that's all that is required to get into the otterly doings.

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