One study saw a male sea otter hold a struggling female underwater until she died during intercourse and ten months later, the same otter was seen swimming, diving, and having sex with a different female carcass. The semi-aquatic creatures known as Sea otters may grow to between 34 and 60 inches in length, though it is very rare to find a Sea Otter surpassing 50 inches. To keep from drifting apart while they snooze, sea otters often sleep holding paws. Sea otters use rocks to remove prey from their shells. They live mainly on land that is very close to bodies of water. Therefore, sea otters are obsessive about keeping their fur clean, and groom themselves practically non-stop when they’re not eating or sleeping. Threats to population recovery include white sharks, pathogens & parasites, food limitation, coastal pollutants and oil spills. Learn more about these cute and charismatic critters. The sea otter can live its entire life without leaving the water. The charismatic otter, a member of the weasel family, is found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. If you come across a sea otter you think is sick, injured or abandoned, please give it space and call The Marine Mammal Center’s stranding hotline at (415) 289-7325. With populations once estimated at close to 300,000, sea otters were hunted extensively for their pelts. 1. Sea otter is the heaviest and the second smallest aquatic member of weasel family. california sea otters divide themselves in diet guilds. Hunted nearly to extinction by the fur trade, sea otters are endangered and currently exist in only a portion of their historic range. View our inclusive approach to conservation. A raft is usually comprised of single-sex sea otters that can range from 10 to a hundred individuals. Sea otters wash themselves after a meal, cleaning their coat with their teeth and paws. Currently the southern sea otter population is estimated at just above 3,000 animals. Sea otters have built in pouches of loose skin under their forearms to stash extra prey when diving. This system traps a layer of air next to their skin so their skin does not get wet. Sea otter fur is the densest of any mammal at about 1 million hairs per square inch (We have 100,000 hairs on our entire head). Wild sea otters typically have a lifespan between 15 and 20 years. 1. Sea otter moms typically nurse and care for their pups for about 6 months before weaning them. Held every year during the last week in September, Sea Otter Awareness Week spotlights the important role of sea otters … Adult sea otters typically weigh between 14 and 45 kg (31 and 99 lb), making them the heaviest members of the weasel family, but among the smallest marine mammals. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Still, they remain classified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as “endangered.”. Is there a pupping season? Floating on its back and using its chest as a table, a sea otter often uses a rock to crack open its prey — especially if dinner is a crab, clam or mussel. They need to keep their fur coat clean so it stays waterproof. Their forefeet are small and dexterous with retractile claws and the flipper-like hind feet are broad and webbed. Once at the surface, they often eat by placing the food on their stomachs, and then placing a rock on their stomachs and then smashing the prey on the rock to open it and get at the flesh inside. For one of the smallest marine mammals on Earth (yet the largest member of the weasel family), the sea otter has racked up quite a few superlatives: 10. Average length of an adult California sea otter is about 4 ft. A group of sea otters resting together is called a raft. 2. Want to watch cute sea otters romp, wrestle and play every day of the year? World Wildlife Fund Inc. is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization (tax ID number 52-1693387) under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Lifespan: 10-15 years on average, but some have lived to be 20. Sea otters are known to wrap their pups and themselves in kelp to keep from drifting out to sea. Sea Otters have joined the ranks of ducks, chickens, pigs, whales, horses, and elephant seals, all animals that can contract influenza.According to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey, sea otters living in a remote area in Washington state were carriers of the H1N1 virus. They have furry bodies, whiskered faces, and a propensity to lay on their backs and float on the water, a behavior that humans perceive as evidence of fun-loving. Otters are some of the most adorable aquatic animals. These include fully webbed hind feet; nostrils and ears … Sea otters are commonly spotted on WWF’s Alaska tours. 4. For instance, they plentifully eat sea urchins, which eat kelp in great abundance. Their fur actually consists of two layers, an undercoat and longer guard hairs. North American Sea Otters are larger than Asian otters. Gestation is 6 months (2 months … Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) are an easily recognized and beloved marine mammal. Oil spills, therefore, can affect sea otters perhaps more so than any other marine mammal; oil coating their fur can lead to death by hypothermia. North American Sea Otter is also more slender than other otter breeds. Sea otters are one of the few animals that use tools. 6. When the sea urchins’ populations are controlled by sea otters, vital kelp forests can flourish. They hunt for food both in the water such as fish and then also land creatures including small reptiles. Sea otters don’t let death hold them back from going to pound town. Sea otters do not migrate far. Sea otters spend approximately 9 to 12 hours foraging each day. Einige dieser Tiere haben harte Schalen, die sie vor Räubern zu schützen. Sea otters have no blubber so they constantly groom themselves to maintain the insulating & water repellant properties of their fur. It ranges from 250,000 to a million hairs per square inch, according to the Defenders of Wildlife. The facts from archaeological digs suggest that the dense fur of the sea otter has made it a target of hunters for thousands of years. Average dive depth for California sea otters is about 20 feet. Its fur is the densest of any animal on Earth—an estimated 1 million hairs per square inch. They can use a rock to dislodge mollusks and urchins from the rocks where they are attached. Nope. Sea otters eat sea urchins & other invertebrates that graze on giant kelp. – Source 13. I’m dead serious. California’s southern sea otter has been listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act since 1977. Otters are adorable creatures that live both on land and in the water. But it wasn’t until the introduction of large scale industrial hunting in the 18th and 19th centuries that the sea otter was seriously threatened. That’s because a male sea otter bites a female’s nose to hold onto her during mating. – Source 12. Facts about Sea Otter, Giant Otter, European Otter, African Otter and River Otter. In their adult stages of life, Sea Otters will weigh from 7 to 31 pounds. They’re cute, they’re fuzzy, and easily photogenic! Sea otters are the heaviest of the 13 otter species (giant otters are the longest). Under their arms, Sea otters have built in pockets. It is native to the coasts of the northern and eastern North Pacific Ocean. That’s because, unlike its fellow marine mammals, it has no blubber to keep it warm. Newborn sea otter pups are so buoyant they can’t immediately dive for food. Sea otter moms typically nurse and care for their pups for about 6 months before weaning them. Have you ever seen an otter with a scarred or bloody nose? The coolest of all otter facts is that they use tools to crack open the shells of crabs and clams. The sea otter is a well-known marine mammal with a historical range along the west coast of North America. Sea otters primarily rely on their sense of touch (whiskers and forepaws) in murky waters to locate prey. On average, an adult male California sea otter consumes over 4,000 calories daily. Warm air trapped in a sea otter’s fur keeps them warm in chilly waters.When otters dive, they seal their ears and nose.The word otter comes from Old English and Indo European root words that were also used to create the English word for water.Otters have the densest fur in the world. Sea otter facts! The sea otter (Enhydra lutris) is rare, completely marine otter. 9. Sea otters are the smallest marine mammal species. They use their sea whiskers to find small creatures to eat, and their paws to dig for clams. The fur is responsible for insulating them and keeping them warm because they do not have a layer of blubber to keep them warm and protect them from the outside environment. Average weight of an adult female California sea otter is about 50 lbs. The length of a sea otter is four feet in California whereas in north sea, the height is slightly more than this. Tune into our LIVE Sea Otter Cam for your daily dose of sea otter cuteness. Washington, DC 20037. Sea otters inhabit temperate coastal waters with rocky or soft sediment ocean bottom. Sea otters can spend their entire life in water. This page contains sea otter facts and information, and is part of our Arctic Animals series. I recently found out that sea otters fall asleep holding paws and my heart has never been so full. If a sea otter’s fur becomes dirty, it has trouble absorbing the air needed to keep it warm. Currently there are less than 3,000 Sea Otters in California, between 65,000 and 78,000 in Washington, Canada, and Alaska combined. They are native to the northern coastlines of the Pacific Ocean, from northern Japan to Baja, Mexico. It wedges a rock between its chest and the “armpit” of a foreleg and pounds shells against it to open them up. Sea otters eat many kinds of invertebrates, including sea urchins, abalone, clams, crabs, snails, sea stars, squid & octopuses. National Geographic: North American River Otter 3. They live in offshore forests of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera), and spend most of their active time foraging below the canopy. Sea otters have several adaptations that allow them to live in a marine environment. A group of otters is called a romp. Look for sea otters on tour with WWF in Alaska. The sea otter must consume between 25 and 40 percent of its body weight daily, just to keep warm. The sea otter (Enhydra lutris)! Fun Facts for Kids. iStock Once thought to be gone from the area completely, southern sea otters—known as California sea otters—have been making a … All otter species appear on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and only one is listed as "least concern." 8. Pups begin to dive and forage at about 2 months. This aquatic member of the weasel family is found along the coasts of the Pacific Ocean in North America and Asia. The sea otter is the only species of otter that spends almost its whole life at sea, even though it rarely travels further than 1km (0.6miles) from the coast. Sea Otter Facts: Habitat: Northern and eastern North Pacific Ocean. All rights reserved. Average dive duration for California sea otters is about 60 seconds. Gestation is 6 months (2 months delayed implantation + 4 months pregnancy). Following an international ban on hunting, their numbers rebounded significantly in the 20th century, particularly in Bering Sea and Alaskan waters, their main stomping ground. Their rafts—usually comprised of a single sex—can range from as few as 10 individuals to as high as 1,000. Males can weigh up to 70 lbs. National Geographic: Sea Otter 2. Clever creatures, they'll use rocks to crack open the clams. From a distance, the line of black bobbing forms in the waters just off the coast of Alaska look like flotsam, or driftwood entangled in kelp. 1250 24th Street, N.W. They usually weigh between 7 to 31 pounds (3 – 14 kg). Sea Otter Facts & Information. WWF® and ©1986 Panda Symbol are owned by WWF. Here are some surprising yet cute facts about them. Sea otters are a keystone species, meaning their role in their environment has a greater effect than other species. They are often mistaken for beavers though. Furry, playful and very, very smart, otters are beloved for their adorable antics and sweet appearance. Quick facts about this adorable marine mammal! Otters are the dogs of the water world, so it’s no small wonder that we humans have such affection for them. Otters do not have blubber, instead air is trapped within their fur to keep them warm. Sea otters are members of the weasel family (Mustelidae). It wedges a rock between its chest and the “armpit” of a foreleg and pounds shells against it to open them up. The sea otter’s diet includes fish, crabs, molluscs, and sea urchins, and it has very strong teeth for crushing their shells. 2. Longest dive ever recorded was just under 8 minutes. They like to eat sea urchins, clams, mussels and crabs. In appearance, sea otters are stouter and have larger rib cages, smaller tails and blunter muzzles than other species of otters. The sea otter also hammers rocks against strongly gripping abalone shells to pry them off of rocks and feed on their tasty insides. The sea otter is one of the few mammal species on Earth to use a tool to help it hunt and feed. They prey on sea urchins that feed on kelp. The sea otter also hammers rocks against strongly gripping abalone shells to pry them off of rocks and feed on their tasty insides. Sea otters are equally active both night and day. Like polar bears in the Arctic, sea otters are considered keystone species in their ecosystems, because they affect great influence on their environments. The North American Sea Otter is a much larger breed compared to Asian counterpart species, who only grow to around 10 pounds. Sea otters are known to wrap their pups and themselves in kelp to keep from drifting out to sea. In fact, at 850,000 to one million hairs per square inch, they have the thickest fur of any mammal. In California, the weight of a female is 45 lbs and of a male otter is 65 l… These adorable little guys have long, streamlined bodies that are just made for being in the water. Weight of otter depends on their breed. Most common prey for California sea otters are Rock and Dungeness crabs. © 2021 World Wildlife Fund. 3. Its hind feet are webbed and flat so they work more like flippers. In environments where sea otter populations … Yet, sea otters do possess the fine, dense fur coats characteristic of the Mustelidae. The sea otter (Enhydra lutris) is a marine mammal native to the coasts of the northern and eastern North Pacific Ocean. 5. Unlike most marine mammals, the sea otter's primary form of insulation is an exceptionally thick coat of fur, the densest in the animal kingdom. And, the Russian population consists of approximately 15,000 with about a dozen in Japan. Here are some viewing tips to help you enjoy watching sea otters and other marine wildlife in a safe and responsible way. The Russian Sea Otter is found off the eastern coast of Russia and several have been reported in Japan. But upon closer inspection, the almost comically adorable faces of a raft of playful sea otters pop up from behind cresting waves, their hind feet pointing toward the sky. Their teeth are strong enough to crunch open a clam shell or bite through a sea urchin's spines. Otters are mammals of the subfamily Lutrinae, one of two subfamilies contained within the family Mustelidae. But the sea otter’s habitat is unique, as they only live in shallow coastal waters in the North Pacific ocean. Like other members of this family, they have very thick fur. Although it can walk on land, the sea otter is capable of living exclusively in the ocean. After hunting on the seafloor, sea otters return to the surface to eat. Sea otter moms typically only give birth to 1 pup. As top predators, sea otters are critical to maintaining the balance of nearshore ecosystems, such as kelp forests, embayments and estuaries. White shark bites are now the leading cause of sea otter mortality in California. An otter must consume 25% of its bodyweight in prey each day just to stay alive (for a 75 lb kid, that’s 75 1/4 lb burgers!). Unlike northern sea otters found in Alaska, southern sea otters here in California don’t eat fish. Sea otters are members of the weasel or mustelid family. Additional resources 1. 11. Pups begin to dive and forage at about 2 months. Another underwater superlative: The sea otter is the only marine mammal capable of flipping over boulders on the sea floor—in this case to search out food. An otter is one of the few species that use tools. Introduction to Otters. They gorge on more than 100 different prey species. Sea otter moms typically only give birth to 1 pup. The sea otter is one of the few mammal species on Earth to use a tool to help it hunt and feed. 4. FUN FACTS Longest recorded dive : 7 min. They will hang on to a dead otter and continue to rape its corpse. As predators that are near the top of the food chain, otters are hugely important for keeping their environments balanced. Sea otters are one of the only mammals that are been known to use tools to obtain and eat their prey. Sea otters are usually dark brown, often with lighter guard h… They carry rocks and store food in the loose skin under their armpits - who needs carrier bags! Sea otters eat 25% of their body weight in food every day. 7. Sea otters play a vital role in the health and stability of the nearshore marine ecosystem as a keystone species. Deepest dive recorded is 264 feet. Mishka is an asthmatic otter who uses an inhaler. They will use rocks to open food like clams, sea urchins and crabs. 5. Sea Otter fressen Fische und wirbellose Meerestiere wie Krabben, Seeigel, Seesterne und Abalone, sowie Tintenfisch und Tintenfische. And the only marine mammal to catch fish with its forepaws and not its mouth. Pups are born year round. Did you know sea otters have built in pouches of loose skin under their forearms to stash extra prey when diving? Their charming features are unparalleled, from their expressions to their use of tools. The population eventually bottomed out at only 1,000 to 2,000 by the early 20th century. 4. No sea otters, no kelp forests. Sea Otters that are found in river settings tend to have slender, serpentine bodi… 6. Learn 15 more facts about these fascinating mammals. Newborn sea otter pups are so buoyant they can’t immediately dive for food. Large percentage of southern sea otter mortality is due to infectious diseases, many of which are known to have anthropogenic causes. Research has shown that sea otters are vital to the health of carbon-absorbing kelp forests. Sea otters can grow between 34 and 60 inches in length. Most sea otters measure less than 50 inches. They have very thick fur – near about 250,000 to one million hair per square inch. 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