Clara, a Sea Lion and Budding TikTok Star, Loves to Hug

Everything I know about sea lions I learned from a (more or less) direct-for-VHS movie in the late-’90s. It’s called Slappy and the Stinkers. I’ve never met a single person outside of my family who has seen it but somehow—and for some reason—we watched it a bunch. Anyway, the movie follows a group of kids in summer school. They rescue a sea lion, the titular Slappy, before realizing that maybe they’ve made a huge mistake. This is all to say that I feel I have an acute understanding for when a sea lion has it—the gravitas, charisma, everything a pup needs to be a star. And Clara, the California sea lion, just has it.


Meet Courtney and Clara, a Trainer/Sea Lion duo that has built a strong bond through years of working together! #sealion #mysticaquarium

♬ original sound - Mystic Aquarium

The budding TikTok star resides in the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut. Clara and her trainer, Courtney, made their TikTok debut in a pair of videos about their friendship. It’s as adorable as it sounds. Courtney explained that the seven-year-old sea lion, rescued as a young pup, has lived at the aquarium for most of her life. The pair work together every single day, strengthening their very tight bond and working on different behaviors.


Pt. 2 of Courtney and Clara! If you haven’t watched part 1 go watch it on our profile! Any Clara stans out there…? #mysticaquarium #californiasealion

♬ original sound - Mystic Aquarium

As Courtney notes, Clara is the very first animal she worked with from the ground up. And you’d never know given the many, many skills the sea lion shows off in the videos. On command Clara can vigorously nod her head, flap her flippers, and mug for the camera. Additionally, Clara is a giant fan of tactile touch. Simply put, she just loves a good hug and snug. And, I mean, why shouldn’t she.

Clara is just one of the many adorable creatures to grace the Mystic Aquarium TikTok channel. Others include a very adorable vocal beluga whale, some penguins, and more California sea lions.

A trio of photos of sea lion Clara and her trainer Courtney from the Mystic Aquarium TikTok channel
Mystic Aquarium

But we’re hoping we get to see a lot more of Clara soon. It’s just what the people—myself chief among them—want!

Top Stories
Trending Topics