Where does come from?
The otter emoji, 🦦, was approved under Unicode 12.0 in 2019, along with other new animals in the emoji kingdom, including skunk 🦨 and sloth 🦥 emoji. On unsupported platforms, the otter emoji displays as an empty box.
As shown in the screenshot from Emojipedia below, designs for the otter emoji implemented in 2019 so far show the light-brown critter on its back with its arms on its belly or at its mouth. Microsoft’s otter appears to be cradling a stone.
The famed Monterey Bay Aquarium has (humorously) argued that the otter emoji specifically depicts a river otter (vs. sea otter), as it possesses a longer body with a smaller face.
v cool the otter emoji is a river otter bc 90% of otter species are river otters they're in n+s america europe africa asia so every1 gets an otter except if u have sea otters but that’s fine we'll put "🌊" b4 the otter thats not a clumsy portmanteau yay woo otter emoji 😄❤️😭😭😭
— Monterey Bay Aquarium (@MontereyAq) February 7, 2019
One of our very own lexicographers, Jane Solomon, along with Monica Dinculescu, submitted a proposal in February 2018 to the Unicode Consortium for the much-requested otter emoji. In the emoji, they found potential for the otter emoji to be used for friendship and love (otters are often seen holding hands); concepts of staying afloat; and emoji puns (e.g., “significant otter,” or “you otter do something”).
Who uses ?
The otter emoji, 🦦, is frequently used when discussing actual otters. Many wildlife preservation agencies as well as zoos and aquariums use it to share educational information about otters.
— Kouchibouguac NP (@KouchibouguacNP) March 25, 2019
Hands up if you like otters? 🦦
Otters are now officially back on the River Meon.
— South Downs National Park (@sdnpa) April 25, 2019
Individuals also use the emoji whenever admiring the playful aquatic creature.
— 🍕Pebberoni Pizza 🍕 (@TheDiyemi) April 22, 2019
— Luke Romaine (@lukerbio) March 14, 2019
As the otter emoji is new, we’re still keeping watch for other applications of this cute, new emoji. Needless to say, people are excited it’s on their keyboards.
We love the new otter emoji!!! RT if you do too! 🦦
— Greenpeace USA (@greenpeaceusa) April 4, 2019