Intake Exam

Once a sea otter is brought into the mobile veterinary unit, there are a number of routine procedures that are performed on every otter as part of a routine health assessment survey. Researchers and veterinarians measure the animal’s length and girth and visually assess body condition.

These data are critical for understanding the health of the individual sea otter but also, when examined as a large dataset, can offer many insights into health of the local population of sea otters. Depending on the purpose of the capture, the otter may receive flipper tags, undergo surgery to receive a radio transmitter, or be released right away. Even if the animal undergoes surgery, the sea otter is monitored for a few hours and then released the same day and monitored by trackers from shore. Below you will find images of the morphometrics (measurements) as well as the preparation of anesthesia that take place when a sea otter is brought into the mobile veterinary unit.