Can I Keep A Sea Otter As A Pet? (Here’s Why You Shouldn’t)

Can Sea Otters Be Pets?

If you’re like me, you absolutely love animals and dream of having a unique animal as a pet. Of course, it doesn’t always make sense to keep a wild animal as a pet. So, what about a sea otter? They are funny, soft, and incredibly cute. Are you allowed to own a sea otter as a pet? Not only that, is it safe for the animal’s health to be a pet? Unfortunately, sea otters aren’t a good fit for the pet life, let’s talk about why.

Why You Shouldn’t Keep a Sea Otter as a Pet

Sea otters are not animals that are meant to be domesticated. Sure, there are several sea otters in zoos, animal welfare centers, and conservation areas, but they are living in an area that very closely mimics their original habitat. Otters do not have the gene in their body, such as a cat would have, that allows them to be completely domesticated. There are some more reasons why a sea otter should not be kept as a pet, let’s dive deeper into those reasons.

They Are Wild Animals

Sea otters are wild animals and, like most wild animals, they are happiest in their natural habitat. They are not designed to be kept inside a home all day and all night long. There are guidelines out there that spell out how a sea otter should be taken care of in captivity, but captivity does not mean as a pet. These guidelines were put out there for the owners of zoos and conservationists who need to keep an otter in captivity for protection or a post-rescue treatment care plan. You can’t keep an otter as a pet just because “it’s so cute I just have to have one”.

They Need Tons of Space

Sea otters are used to being able to roam wherever they please whenever they want to. They are able to move around to places that provide them with the environmental enrichment they need to stay happy and healthy. If a sea otter is kept up for too long, they will find their own enrichment that will probably consist of ruining a lot of your belongings. 

Otters are Social

Sea otters, as well as other kinds of otters, are incredibly social animals. They yearn to be around other animals of their same species for socialization and connection. Have you ever seen those extremely adorable pictures on the internet of otters snuggling as they float by the coast together? That is exactly how otters prefer to live their little otter lives; together with their otter families.

They Have Strict Requirements

Sea otters are very sensitive, so they require some very strict accommodations to live a healthy life. Not only does the water they swim in have to be a specific temperature, but it also has to be clean to otter standards. If their environment isn’t perfect, it could lead to an extremely untimely otter death. 

Sea otters also require a very strict diet of up to 20 pounds of food per day (for an adult male) filled with the perfect amount of protein for animals (about 40% of their diet), appropriate fat content (20% of their diet), and the right amount of fiber (around 4% of their diet). This diet consists almost exclusively of fresh clams, crabs, and sea-food!

Can You Own a Sea Otter as a Pet?

It is not recommended to keep a sea otter as a pet. It is not good for their health to be cooped up without the right diet, the right environment, or the right enrichments. Sea otters are wild animals, so they will always be their happiest in their natural environment.

If you’re disappointed that you can’t keep a sea otter as a pet, you might want to go and see them in their natural habitat. Where do sea otters live?

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