Wild Animals

Sea Otter

posted: 04/29/14
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Sea Otter
Bernhard Richter/Thinkstock

Allow me to introduce Myself: I'm a Sea Otter!

Where You'll Most Likely Find Me: We live in the Pacific Ocean near Alaska and the states of California and Washington. We also live in the parts of the Pacific Ocean that stretch as far as Asia.

What I Like to Eat: We find seafood absolutely irresistible. Urchins, clams, mussels, crabs, snails, we'll take them all.

Betcha Didn't Know This About Me: In the frigid waters of the Pacific Ocean, it's not blubber, but hair that keeps us warm. Some of us have 800,000 up to one million fine hairs all over our bodies that provide insulation.

Size: We are one of the smallest marine mammals measuring five feet in length.

Who We Are: We are members of the weasel family and share the same dark brown colors. Like the prairie dog in this animal series, we are a "keystone" species because of our contribution to the sea. We gulp down undersea animals that attempt to eat forests off the coasts that double as food and habitat for a lot of other marine animals. The majority of our lives are spent in the water. That's where we sleep, eat, mate and give birth. There are times when we will venture onto shore.

A Greedy Bunch: We eat all of the time while floating in the water. Because of our high metabolism, we have to consume about 25% to 30% of our body weight in food just to survive. We store any food we don't eat right away in the loose skin under our armpits.

Breeding: After five months of pregnancy, female sea otters will birth only one pup at a time. Pups don't stray far from their mother for the first eight months of their lives. They cannot dive underwater, but they can swim when they turn one month old. To protect their pups while they hunt, mothers will wrap them in kelp and let them bob in the water just like a wine cork. How cute.

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