Sea Otter? What’s That?

         Hi everyone! Before getting into the really interesting but complicated details of sea otters, it is important that we all have a basic understanding of the species. Where do they live, what do they eat, and what kind of relationship do they have with humans? Read on to find out!

Physical Characteristics: Sea otters have small, round heads with small eyes that are good for seeing in and out of water. They are typically a chestnut brown, but sometimes they have black, white, or gray streaks in their fur. They tend to be about four feet long, which includes their 12-inch tails. Baby sea otters range in weight from three to five pounds, and grow to be anywhere between 50 and 70 pounds. Males are typically larger than females. They have the thickest fur of all mammals, and their front paws are shaped like mittens. Like cat claws, they have claws that can be pulled back into their paws. Their hind feet are webbed, helping the sea otter swim faster.

Eating: Sea otters place their food on their stomach, like a makeshift table. In order to get to the flesh inside of the hard shells that they bring up from the bottom of the ocean, they smash a rock into the shell until it cracks open. They most often eat clams, snails, abalone, crabs, starfish, mussels, scallops, squid, and a collection of many other aquatic creatures.

Habitat: Today, sea otters exist only in the Kuril Islands, Kamchatka, the Commander Islands, the Aleutian Islands, British Colombia, Vancouver Island, and Point Sur, California. They no longer live off the coast of Mexico, the Pribilof Islands, and Hokkaido. This is because a long time ago too many people killed the sea otters and used the valuable thick sea otter fur for trading.

Sea otters are phenomenal creatures, and it is important to understand how much they will be missed if they ever do become extinct. It is in our hands to protect the fragile lives of these beautiful and unique animals and to prevent/stop any human activities that are harming them.

visit this site to learn more: http://www.defenders.org/sea-otter/basic-facts.

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“Basic Facts about Sea Otters.” Sea Otter: Basic Facts. Defenders of Wildlife, n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2012. <http://www.defenders.org/sea-otter/basic-facts>.

Published Feb. 4, 2010.

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