The Sea Otter is a native of the coasts of the eastern and
northern Pacific Ocean. They are marine mammals from the
weasel family and can weigh up to one hundred pounds. They
are among the heaviest mammal in the weasel family but they
are the smallest of all marine mammals.
Unlike some marine mammals that rely on a dense layer of fat
to help them stay insulated from the cold Pacific waters,
Sea Otters have instead a dense coat of fur. In fact, they
have the densest fur of any animal in the animal kingdom.
The Sea Otter can walk on land and they are often seen
coming onto the shore, but they are capable of living
exclusively in the ocean and some populations do just that.
The Sea Otter prefers to live near the shore where it can
forage by quickly diving to the sea floor for its prey. They
like to eat marine invertebrates such as Crustaceans, some
fish, Mollusks and Sea Urchins. The Sea Otter is the main
predator of the Sea Urchin and are very much needed to
control the Sea Urchin population; otherwise the Sea Urchins
would damage the Kelp Forest ecosystems.
Sea Otters use tools such as rocks to crack the hard shells
of their prey, making them a member of a small select group
of mammals that are known to use tools. Sea Otters can be
seen floating on their backs with a rock on their chest and
pounding a mussel onto the rock to break its shell.
The Sea Otter is a diurnal creature that starts foraging and
eating its prey about an hour before sunrise in the morning.
They sleep during the mid-day and then in the afternoon
start foraging for food again until after sunset. They may
also forage for food around midnight. The rest of the time
they spend grooming themselves.
Human fishermen are competing with the Sea Otter for some of
the food they prefer to eat. This sometimes leads to
conflicts between Sea Otters and fishermen. Sea Otters are
also particularly vulnerable to environmental pollutants
like oil. The population is currently declining in
California and the Aleutian Islands because of spills from
The Sea Otter is an endangered species and at its lowest
point there were only one to two thousand Sea Otters left in
the world. Reintroduction of the species has swelled their
numbers, but they are still not up to their previous
population of between one hundred fifty thousand and three
hundred thousand. But they now occupy most of their previous
range thanks to the efforts of biologists and
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