The smallest of all marine mammals, southern sea
otters once thrived from Northern California to
Baja. Hunted to the brink of extinction by the
fur trade of the 1800s, a small colony survived
near Big Sur. Today, only about 2,000 southern
sea otters exist, and they face many
dangersólike oil spills, entanglement in fishing
gear, diseases and pollution. In order to help
save the sea otters and help their survival we
need to raise awareness about them. There are
many ways to do this whether traditional or not
so traditional like raising money to help the
cause or bringing information to schools to
educate children about the issues sea otters
face. You could even
make your own t-shirt
to show your support and help the cause. T-shirts, flyers and posters are an easy way to
get information out there and make it visible to the public in many areas. You may also want to try
creating your own
or site like ours to help raise awareness to people all over the world...
please continue below to read more detailed info
about sea otters and their habitat.
Sea otters average four feet in length and weigh between 40-60 pounds. While their bodies are adapted for water - they have flipper-like hind feet and broad flat tails - sea otters are actually quite slow swimmers when compared to other marine mammals.
Unlike most marine mammals, sea otters lack a thick layer of fat to insulate them from cold temperatures. Instead, they have an extremely dense coat of fur which helps to trap a layer of air close to their skin to keep them warm.
Female sea otters are ready to bear young at three to four years, and normally give birth to one pup. Since pups are heavily dependent upon their mothers for up to one year, sea otters usually reproduce every other year. Sea otter pups are typically two feet in length and weigh between three and five pounds at birth.
Habitat & Diet
Southern sea otters are found along the central coast of California. They eat sea urchins, mollusks, squid, crabs, and clams. Their teeth are specially adapted to eating shellfish, allowing them to crush shells and scoop out meat. They will occasionally eat finfish, but their rounded teeth lack the sharp edges necessary to handle the slippery prey.
otters' eyes are not well adapted for dimly lit
ocean water, they rely on their sensitive front
paws to locate and gather food. In order to
maintain their body temperature, sea otters must
consume about 25 percent of their
body weight each
day. Unlike most animals, sea otters use tools to
eat. They often use rocks to crack open their prey
as they float on their backs.
Threats to Sea Otters
Hunted to the brink of extinction by the fur trade of the 1800s, a small colony of southern sea otters survived near Big Sur. Today only about 2,000 exist and they are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
face the threat of entanglement in gill and
trammel net fisheries. They are also threatened by
oil spills since they rely on their dense fur for
warmth. If their coats become soiled by oil, it
becomes matted and can no longer trap air next to
their skinówhich can lead to pneumonia or
hypothermia. Additionally, they often try to clean
their fur by licking it and become poisoned.