There are 13 known species of otters, which range in size from 2.9 feet (90 cm) all the way to 5.9 feet (1.8 m) long! Even a baby sea otter can stay warm on the open ocean, but they do need some help from their mothers. Sea otters eat 25% of their body weight in food every day. Sea otters use rocks to remove prey from their shells. A sea otter’s pelt is the thickest of any mammal. The average body mass for males is about 88 pounds, with a range of 49–99 pounds; females range from 31–73 pounds. As top predators, sea otters are critical to maintaining the balance of nearshore ecosystems, such as kelp forests, embayments and estuaries. 4. They have very thick fur – near about 250,000 to one million hair per square inch. Sea otters are social, and hang out together in groups called rafts. Because they are dependent on their fur for warmth, sea otters are heavily affected by oil spills. Adults weigh up to 99 pounds and are the weasel family’s heaviest animals, but strangely the smallest of all marine mammals. When sea otter populations are healthy, urchin populations are kept in check, and kelp is abundant. In a kelp forest, sea urchins can graze on the kelp and eat their holdfasts, resulting in deforesting the … An otter is one of the few species that use tools. Winter brings many other dangers to otters. Many species of river-dwelling otter can swim quite quickly – they have to be strong swimmers to catch fish and fight the flow of the river. Sea otters often float at the water's surface, lying on their backs in a posture of serene repose. SeaOtters.com is dedicated to raising awareness about California’s threatened sea otters and inspiring the public to view wildlife responsibly. Hand-holding keeps the otters … Sea Otter Sea otters are a keystone species, meaning their role in their environment has a greater effect than other species. On a river it is vital to check for signs during winter when the vegetation has died back. But that isn't an issue for the talented sea otter, which cracks open the shells by banging them with rocks. It is native to the coasts of the northern and eastern North Pacific Ocean. The infamous Exxon Valdez spill killed at least several hundred sea otters and affected the sea otter population in Prince William Sound for well over a decade, according to the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council. Because otters actually form attachments to certain stones – keeping them in an armpit when not in use – and have been known to retain their favourite ones throughout their lives, which is definitely one of our favourite sea otter facts! Why do sea otters always a carry a stone with them? At birth, the weight of a pup is 3 to 5 pounds. Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) are an easily recognized and beloved marine mammal. Scottish coastal otters, for example, which usually forage and hunt throughout the day in summer, instead seek prey more intensively in the mornings (though, interestingly, camera-traps set by the International Otter Survival Fund have revealed that they are in fact also active at night). The U. Kelp forests absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and a healthy forest can absorb as much as 12 times the amount of CO2 from the atmosphere than if it were subject to sea urchin predation. Research has shown that sea otters are vital to the health of carbon-absorbing kelp forests. Only adult males establish territories, which they patrol during mating season to keep out other adult males. Their fur is the densest of any animal with about 100,000 hairs per square centimeter. Kelp provides shelter for sea otters and their pups and a variety of other marine organisms. Females rove freely between and among male territories. When on water, these groups are called rafts, and the largest … Additional resources 1. They use the rock as a table against which they smash their shelled prey to g… Sea otters are foragers that eat mostly hard-shelled invertebrates, including sea urchins and a variety of clams, mussels, and crabs. Many otters eat tough food, particularly sea otters that inhabit the shallow coastal waters of the northern Pacific. 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. Not all otters use tools, but sea otters use them all the time. Sea otter, (Enhydra lutris), rare, completely marine otter of the northern Pacific, usually found in kelp beds. She serves as the executive director of the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation. Mating is polygynous—one male breeds with all the females in its breeding territory. To swim faster they use their webbed feet for propulsion and undulate their bodies. As you already know, Otters hold hands while eating and sleeping so they don’t lose each other. Sea otters are the smallest fully marine mammal in the world: Males range in length between 3.9–4.9 feet, while females range between 3.3–4.6 feet. They have webbed feet, water-repellent fur to keep them dry and warm, and nostrils and ears that close in the water. National Geographic: North American River Otter 3. They are known to eat clams, mussels, crabs, octopus, sea urchins, snails, and fat innkeeper worms. The mother will produce milk, hunt and teach the pup how to dive for food until the youngster is five to eight months old and can fend for itself. They have an interesting method of eating their prey. They can keep extra food in this spot, and also store a favorite rock for cracking the shell of their prey. More surprisingly, sea otters are quite slow swimmers, although they are extremely agile. They’re renowned for preying on hard-shelled marine invertebrates, including abalones, sea urchins, clams, mussels and crabs, usually fracturing the shells with their teeth. It is 40–65 inches (100–160 cm) long and weighs The most gregarious by far are sea otters, which are polygynous (males mate with multiple females). It’s not unusual to see a mother otter with her cubs, but families aside, it depends on the species. Like polar bears in the Arctic, sea otters are considered keystone species in their ecosystems, because they affect... 2. Sea otters are the only fully aquatic form of otters, but they share features with the others such as thick fur and short ears. Sea Otter Facts & Information Sea otters are members of the weasel family (Mustelidae). This thick fur keeps the animals warm ​but unfortunately has led to over-hunting by humans of many of these mustelid species. Thanks! And going by a plethora of YouTube videos, we can now add juggling rocks to the list. Here are few life facts you should know about Sea Otters! Already have an account with us? An Amazing Animal: 3 Sea Otter Facts. Sign in to manage your newsletter preferences. If conditions are mild and wet, cubs can drown in flooded holts. Female otters live 15–20 years and can have pups every year from the first estrus; males live for 10–15 years. Sea otters first became protected from the fur trade by the International Fur Seal Treaty in 1911, after the population had decreased to about 2,000 as a result of unrestrained hunting for furs. Currently the southern sea otter population is estimated at just above 3,000 animals. Sea Otter Facts California’s southern sea otter has been listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act since 1977. Sea otters reproduce sexually and that only occurs when the females are in estrus. However, when tackling species with the heaviest armour, such as as marine snails and thick-shelled bivalves, sea otters often employ tools. The energy demands of a sea otter mother increases by 17 per cent after giving birth. Most critically, they are a keystone species, meaning that their continued existence is required for several other species to survive. Indeed, research suggests that the sea otter’s bite force may not be sufficient to open the hardest-shelled prey items, hence their use of tools. They're hungry animals! With the giant otters of the Amazon growing up to 2m in length, you can imagine that they can swim pretty speedily when they want to! But habitat loss and hunting have brought many populations of other otter species crashing down around the world, especially in more tropical locations. As predators that are near the top of the food chain, otters are hugely important for keeping their environments balanced. Unlike some marine mammals like whales that would die if they were on land for too long, sea otters can go up onto land to rest, groom, or nurse. The sea otters once roamed across large swaths of their Pacific territory, but because their fur is highly desired, they were hunted to the brink of extinction. Sea otter is the heaviest and the second smallest aquatic member of weasel family. FactsKing.com / Animal Facts / 8 Top Predators of Sea Otters that Eat Sea Otter Sea otters are sea mammals native to the eastern and northern parts of the North Pacific Ocean. It ranges from 250,000 to a million hairs per square inch, according to the Defenders of Wildlife. The sea otter can usually be found in kelp beds, and looks very much like lumps of kelp. Healthy river systems in the UK may boast equally vibrant populations of otters as typical coastal habitat, but riparian otters are usually harder to spot due to high levels of human and dog disturbance, dense vegetation and the fact that it is more challenging to see otters hunting in fast moving rivers than on the sea. Sea otters have been found to play a pivotal role in the habitat and marine life that inhabit a kelp forest. Floating on its back, it opens mollusks by smashing them on a stone balanced on its chest. For the Love of Sea Otters. The northern sea otters can weigh as much as 100 pounds. Otters live in a wide variety of watery locations, from the mighty Amazon to the heart of Singapore. Here are four essential facts about sea otters: They’re the largest member of the weasel family Mustelidae, a family of fur-bearing mammals that … In fact, sea otters are one of the only mammals (apart from primates) to have developed tool use. Sea otters inhabit temperate coastal waters with rocky or soft sediment ocean bottom. Sea otters can grow between 34 and 60 inches in length. The gestation period lasts for six months, and females nearly always give birth to a single live pup, although twinning does occur. 12 Facts about Otters for Sea Otter Awareness Week 1. 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