It’s time for Wildlife of the Week! We wanted to begin with a species that is incredibly important and familiar on our coast…
…..the Sea Otter! 🦦
- Sea Otters are carnivorous mammals, spending the majority of their life in the ocean. They are one of the smallest marine mammals and may look similar to a seal, but belong to the weasel family (Mustelidae)! They are usually seen floating on their backs in kelp beds, wrapped in fronds to stay in place. Unlike other marine mammals, they rely on a thick fur coat to keep warm, not blubber!
- They love to eat Sea urchins, and play a crucial role in regulating urchin populations. They will also feast on other shelled animals, like crabs.
- Generally, Sea Otters can be found on the West Coast from Alaska down to California.
- Did you know? Sea Otters will use rocks to crack and pry open the hard shells of their prey (especially necessary with prickly urchins)!
Now, time for trivia!
- What is a group of sea otters together in the water called? (ANS): RAFT.
- True or False? Sea Otters may have close to 165,000 hairs per square inch. (ANS):TRUE.
- What is the scientific name for the Sea Otter? (ANS): Enhydra lutris.
BONUS CHALLENGE: Why do Sea Otters “scrub” their fur?
Answer: move air close to base of fur to promote insulation.
Author: Alexa D./Five Star Whale Watching
Is the Sea Otter a favourite of yours? Check out our References to learn more!