You Can Name Sea Otter "Pup 681" Whatever Your Heart Desires (But We Have Some Ideas)

Fact: Sea otters are the greatest things to have ever existed. (No, that is not up for debate.) Puppies, kittens, and baby pandas are all really cute, but sea otters are on a whole other level. They're not just cute; they're kind of like nature's masterpiece. Take Pup 681, for example. Just one look at the weeks-old sea otter pup and it's clear that every single sea otter that comes into this world is a tiny, furry miracle. After being rescued from a California beach, Pup 681 has been under the care of Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, and now that she's growing rapidly into a full-size otter, the aquarium in partnership with ABC's Good Morning America is holding a "Name the Sea Otter Pup" contest for Pup 681 to give her a proper name.

In late September, Pup 681, who is part of a threatened subspecies of Southern sea otters, was found abandoned on a California beach at only one week old. Since then, Shedd Aquarium has been nursing the pup to health, teaching her to swim, and making sure she becomes the healthy and happy adult otter she deserves to be. Now, after doubling in size and weighing over 10 pounds, it's time to bestow a better name on the pup than Pup 681, which kind of sounds like a household appliance.

Tim Binder, Vice President of Animal Collections for Shedd, said in a statement about the naming contest:

Over the past few weeks, she has won the hearts of many in Chicago and across the nation. We’re excited to team up with a national organization, to connect millions of people with this species inspiring conservation for wildlife and the environment through the engaging process of selecting a name for our Sea Otter with everyone.

Good Morning America is featuring a poll on its Yahoo homepage. Voters can submit as many times as they'd like until December 11 at 3 p.m. ET. The winning name will be revealed on Friday, December 12. Here are the five name choices in the running, which were selected by Shedd's marine mammal staff:

  • Cali — to honor the California otter.
  • Ellie — as a nod to the elephant seals at Año Nuevo State Park and to Elkhorn Slough, an area near Monterey that is home to many sea otters.
  • Luna — which references the nearby Half Moon Bay.
  • Poppy — which pays tribute to the California state flower.
  • Aña or Anya as a nod to Año Nuevo State Park.

Before our sweet little Pup 681 is bestowed a name worthy of her magnificence, get to know the sea otter a little better. Here are some fun facts about these otterly amazing creatures (I really wasn't exaggerating when I called them nature's Sistine Chapel).

A Raft of Otters

As a nod to their free-floating lifestyle, a group of otters is called a "raft," which can consist of anywhere between two and 100 otters. Omg the sight of 100 otters might make me faint from joy.

Holding Paws

When sea otters nap, they often hold paws to keep the raft together and not drfit apart. You've probably seen that famous GIF (above) and temporarily lost your mind the first time you viewed it, amirite?

One more just because:

Smart and Crafty

Sea otters are one of the few animals in the world who know how to use tools. They use rocks as hammers to open shellfish for eating. And once they have their dinner ready, they turn over onto their backs and use their stomachs as tables.

Sea Otters Keep the Environment in Check

Sea otters play a crucial role in the ecosystem and combating global warming. Their diet consists heavily of sea urchins, which prey on sea kelp, a plant that stores and traps large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. So sea otters essentially help protect the kelp forest and keep the air cleaner. Just reason #824839 to love sea otters.

Images: Shedd Aquarium/YouTube,,