Aquarium sea otter, Betty, dies suddenly at 10; cause unknown

The Aquarium of the Pacific announced Friday that Betty, a 10-year-old southern sea otter who was brought to the facility as a pup, died suddenly on Thursday.

Betty had no know health issues or changes in behavior leading up to her death, officials said. In coming days, the aquarium’s veterinary team and outside specialists will conduct an exam to try and determine her cause of death. Otters in captivity can live to be over 20.

Betty arrived at the aquarium in March 2012 at an estimated age of 9 to 10 weeks old. She arrived after being rescued off Del Monte Beach in Northern California on Valentine’s Day, according to the aquarium.

“Because she had lost her mother and did not have a chance to learn survival skills, government wildlife officials determined she was unable to take care of herself in the wild,” the aquarium said in a statement. “The Aquarium offered her a permanent home and she made her way to Long Beach.”

In recent months, Betty had been helping newly arrived sea otters navigate life at the aquarium in the facility’s Sea Otter Habitat, according to Brett Long, the aquarium’s curator of marine mammals and birds.

“Betty was known for high-speed eating, particularly squid, and her adorable clapping behavior,” he said in a statement. “She will be greatly missed.”

Betty was named after the late actress Betty White, who was an animal lover and aquarium supporter. The two met when White visited the Aquarium in 2012 to celebrate her 90th birthday. The actress died Dec. 31 at age 99.

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