Charlie the Otter’s Big 21st Birthday

The "oldest sea otter in an aquarium or a zoo" hits a milestone year, at the Aquarium of the Pacific.

Hugh Ryono

ANY GREETING CARD AISLE... worth its colorful array of envelopes is going to offer A) funny cards and B) sentimental cards and C) those cards that are all about the major milestone birthdays. And turning 21 is quite the big occasion, for numerous reasons, which means you can find an array of greetings all fashioned to welcome a birthday-haver to their 22nd year on earth. Where, though, does a person find those greeting cards for an otter marking his 21st birthday? Quite obviously, a card depicting a frosty beer mug or an especially lively party won't be quite right, and yet those greeting cards that depict mollusks and abalone and the sorts of imagery that might delight an otter are pretty scarce. We suppose, then, that the only thing to do is to wish dear Charlie, one of the most famous otters around, a very happy 21st birthday in our hearts. And, of course, the next time we're at the Aquarium of the Pacific, in Long Beach, which is his home. Charlie turned 21 on Friday, March 2, and staffers provided...

"ONE OF HIS FAVORITE TREATS," which, as you probably guessed, is "frozen nalgene tubes filled with a clam and squid smoothie." You can see this yummy squid smoothie-in-a-tube in the video below, in all of its pink/blue amazingness. And, no, this wasn't his only treat; he also was on the receiving end of a seafood cake. So why do so many people know this sweet otter, beyond the fact that his whiskery cuteness inspires smiles for miles? Charlie is "the oldest sea otter in an aquarium or a zoo," making him a very big deal, indeed. The aquarium posted that male otters, in the wild, have a life span of about "10 to 14 years." Keep on truckin', er, swimmin' Charlie, and happy 21st! 

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