Natant is an adjective taken from the Latin word natare, which means “to swim.” The word is used to reference something or someone floating or swimming in water.
When otter pups are first born, they are unable to swim. They are, however, equipped with a buoyant coat of fur that keeps the pups afloat. To keep them safe and to prevent them from floating away in the ocean, the mothers will wrap their babies with seaweed. This gives the mothers freedom to hunt for food by anchoring their natant offspring among the kelp in the Pacific Ocean.
This video from PBS shows natant otter pups in off the coast of California and in the tidal slough and estuary of Elkhart Slough.