Shedd Aquarium's rescued southern sea otter pup (Enhydra lutris nereis) - currently known as Pup 681 - has been swimming past significant milestones over the last few weeks and is growing quickly.
PHOTOS: Sea Otter Pup 681
CLICK HERE TO VOTE (righthand column of the page)
Already double in size and weighing in at a little over 10 pounds, Pup 681 is now ready for a name. Shedd is partnering up with ABC's Good Morning America to name the female sea otter pup - who came to the aquarium as part of a collaborative partnership with Monterey Bay Aquarium on Oct. 28.
GMA invites viewers to get involved with the contest by casting their votes online at GoodMorningAmerica.com on Yahoo, starting Tuesday. Participants can submit votes as often as they like until Thursday, Dec.11 at 2 p.m. CST. The final name will be revealed on Friday, Dec. 12.
The public will choose from five names selected by Shedd's marine mammal staff. Shedd has a history of naming animals that are rescued affiliated with the locations of which they were found. Names include:
Cali - To honor the California otter
Ellie - Ao Nuevo State Park is well known for its elephant seals, also Elkhorn Slough - an area that is right up the coast from Monterey that is home to many sea otters
Luna - Derived from nearby Half Moon Bay
Poppy - California State Flower
Ana (or Anya) - Derived from Ano Nuevo State Park
Shedd Aquarium members were offered an exclusive first look at the name choices and the first chance to vote. The winning "Shedd Members' Choice" was Luna.
VIDEO: Sea Otter Pup 681 plays at the Shedd
As the smallest marine mammal, sea otters are members of the weasel or mustelid family. Adult females can weigh between 35 and 60 pounds; males reach up to 90 pounds. Instead of blubber to keep them warm, they have very thick hair that consists of two layers: an undercoat and longer guard hairs. The otter's fur is important to their survival, so they spend up to four hours a day grooming. If they do not keep their coat immaculate, they risk getting cold and dying of hypothermia.
Pups stay with their mothers until they are up to eight months old. Otters do not mate for life, but form a bond that lasts for three or four days. After mating, the male leaves the female and is not involved in raising the pup. Sea otters must eat at least 25 percent of their body weight each day to maintain a high metabolic rate, which keeps their internal body temperature at 100 Farenheit. They eat bottom-dwelling nearshore animals, such as abalone, clams, sea urchins, crabs and octopus.
Additional information is available online at Shedd Aquarium or by following the hashtag #OtterPupVote