monterey bay aquarium

Meet Kit the Otter, California's Next Great Game Designer

The adorable animal, a resident of Monterey Bay Aquarium, was filmed playing a super-fun game we'll call "hide the shrimp."

Monterey Bay Aquarium

What to Know

  • Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Kit is a rescued sea otter who lives in the aquarium's otter habitat; she has been both a surrogate mother and "mentor" to younger otters
  • A new video shows Kit placing a shrimp on a board, and then attempting to find it from below via a series of claw-sized holes

INTRODUCING "THE SHRIMP GAME": How do you describe a hot new game to a friend? Do you start with the rules? The game's aim? How does it feel to play it? The quirks, twists, and surprises you can expect? There's a lot that goes into breaking down the specifics of a fresh challenge, but sometimes you just have to jump in, (webbed) feet first, and move a shrimp around, all to create something cute and fun. Oh, did we say webbed feet and refer to a shrimp as well? We did, because a new video from the Monterey Bay Aquarium shows Kit, a rescued otter, creating her own thrilling game with a shrimp and a board dotted with holes large enough to slip a claw through.

OTTERLY GENIUS: Rather than devouring the tasty crustacean, as many seafood-loving animals might, Kit hides it from herself several times, only to rediscover the shrimp before moving it again. It makes for a merrily mesmerizing viewing experience, especially with what occurs at the video's conclusion (no spoilers, but Ivy, another otter, makes a curious, is-that-a-shrimp-I-see? cameo). Clearly the ultra-smart Kit has always been destined for greatness, even beyond dreaming up the clearly compelling Shrimp Game. Rescued as a wee pup by a California Fish & Wildlife biologist after being stranded near Morro Bay, the highly intelligent animal has spent the last decade-plus sweetly serving as a "... surrogate mother and mentor to pups behind the scenes." Kit's catchy name? It hails from John Steinbeck's "The Wayward Bus."

WANT TO COMMUNE WITH KIT... in person at the Cannery Row aquarium, or at least admire her from a respectful distance? Just make for the oh-so-beloved sea otter habitat. Kit weighs about 50 pounds, making her one of the aquarium's largest otters. Of course, this clever critter might just be up to some intelligent game play when you approach the viewing area, making her easy to spot. Here's more on this insta-superstar now...

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