Posted January 31, 2018 | Updated February 15, 2018

Petunia the Rescued Baby Otter Kit

Petunia’s Rescue Story

An otter kit (baby otter) was rescued Sunday evening, January 28, 2018, after a resident found the otter kit in their backyard. The resident removed the animal from the yard, placed it in a box, and then contacted the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) Rescue Team. The CMA Rescue Team planned recovery of the otter kit that night.

petunia the otter kit

The otter kit spent the night under the observation of the CMA veterinarian of record, Dr. Shelly Marquardt. The otter, estimated to be only three weeks old, received a health assessment at Clearwater Marine Aquarium and began a treatment plan, including regular administration of fluids with added dextrose.

Petunia the otter kit baby

Why Was the Otter Kit Found Alone?

While it is impossible to know why the kit was found alone in the yard, it is possible the female otter was attempting to relocate her den due to extensive rains the area experienced during that day. Female otters have been documented to move their den several times during a kit season due to natural and man-made influences.

Transfer for Rehab and Release With Other Otter Kits

The CMA rescue team attempted to re-nest Petunia and reunite her with her mother on Jan. 29 and 30. However, the mother could not be found. On Tuesday, Jan. 30 Petunia was transferred to CROW (Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife) in Sanibel, FL where she will have the opportunity to rehabilitate among other otter kits. She will continue to rehabilitate there until she is ready for release back to the wild.


North American river otter
Lontra canadensis

Age: Estimated to be three weeks old

Location Found: Odessa, FL

Date Found: January 28, 2018

How to Respond If You Find a Young Otter Alone

If you come across any young animal alone, the best way to help is to leave it where it is, move away from the area and watch for 15 minutes to see if the mom returns. Call CMA (or your local wildlife rescue organization) right away before intervening. This includes touching, moving, or interacting with the animal in any way. Mom may be close by and interacting with the otter kit, having pets around the area, or people nearby may interfere with mom’s ability to return. Otters are wild animals and can be aggressive, have a powerful bite and the ability to run and swim quickly. They can also potentially carry rabies. Call our 24-hour rescue hotline before taking any action: 727-441-1790 Ext. 1.

Learn more about otter kits.


Duke Energy Coca-Cola Bay Star Allegiant Dolphin Motor Coach