Cecelia Azhderian, a science illustrator who also is the sea otter handler at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, graciously organized a behind the scenes tour of the sea otters for our January meeting of The Guild of Natural Science Illustrators. She led us up a stairwell to the top of the exhibit, past rows of plastic dog toys to a concrete spot where we could look down into the sea otter exhibit (Enhydra lutris).There were two otters on display Joy, and Kit. Kit is young and playful, I loved watching her rolling around in a plastic tub. Cecelia fed them for us to show us specific behaviors and parts of their anatomy. When Cecelia put food on top of the rock landing in the exhibit, Kit would run up jump onto of the food and hide it in the pockets under her arms to take back into the water to eat it. She enjoyed gnawing on shrimp frozen in an ice block, frozen clam juice and pulling out shrimp that was stuffed into dog toys. She constantly in motion.Luckily for the other illustrators, Cecelia had also put out a sea otter skeleton, a stuffed sea otter and several other stationary objects to draw. I was having too much fun watching the antics below to draw them myself.
To see the otters for yourself: