But if sea otter elders in Checleset Bay told floating bedtime stories to modern day pups, they might tell of their ancestors’ bizarre flying adventure. It prohibits commercial harvest of sea otters, and allows Alaska natives to hunt sea otters for subsistence and creation of handicrafts. Since they must sleep at the surface, they often wrap themselves in giant kelp to keep from floating away. Sea otter – This species lives on the Pacific coast of the North American continent. They feed mainly on sea urchins, crabs, and various shellfish. Rafts tend to consist of females and pups together, and separate groups of males. Sea otters are commonly spotted on WWF’s Alaska tours. Sea otters are shallow coastal water dwellers, as it is easier to adapt to. Where do Sea Otters Live? June 12, 2017. admintag. There are 13 species in total, ranging from the small-clawed otter to the giant otter. However, large numbers of sea otters can deplete shellfish populations, conflicting with fisheries for crabs, clams, and abalones. Their front feet are handlike and partially webbed. Sea otters are shallow coastal water dwellers, as it is easier to adapt to. Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) are classified as marine mammals.They live along the Pacific coast of North America.Their historic range included shallow waters of the Bering Strait.It also included Kamchatka, and as far south as Japan.Sea otters have about 26,000 to 165,000 hairs per square centimeters of skin. Sea otters are spread around the colder regions of earth, in the ocean, hence their name, sea otter. Engage Youth with Sailors for the Sea. They all eat fish, clams, lobsters and small animals occurring along the shore. Both rely exclusively on marine prey, although the sea otter can be found much farther offshore; the marine otter stays within about 100 metres (330 feet) of the shore. Sea otters are carnivores in the family Mustelidae—a group of animals that also includes terrestrial and semi-aquatic forms such as weasels, badgers, skunks, fishers, minks, and river otters.Sea otters are the only fully aquatic form of otters, but they share features with the others such as thick fur and short ears. Are sea otters friendly? As they are mammals, they stay for short periods of time. When not resting or eating, river otters can often be seen eagerly sliding down mud or snow banks. Sea otters are brown to almost black in color, but hands and necks whiten in older animals. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Kamchatka beavers do not form permanent pairs, males do not compete with each other and can mate with several females. This aquatic member of the weasel family is found along the coasts of the Pacific Ocean in North America and Asia. Where do wild otters live, and how can you see one in the UK? In the wild, they mostly eat fish, while sea-dwelling otters use stones to break open mollusks. The African clawless otter (Aonyx capensis), also known as the Cape clawless otter or groot otter, is the second-largest freshwater species of otter.African clawless otters are found near permanent bodies of water in savannah and lowland forest areas. Marine otters occupy the intertidal zone that covers the first 100–150 metres (roughly 330–500 feet) of coastal water and about 30 metres (100 feet) inland. Sea otters have been found to play a pivotal role in the habitat and marine life that inhabit a kelp forest. They are not at the top of the food web, however, and are eaten by orcas, great white sharks and other large predators. What Kingdom do Sea Otters belong to? Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. 9. Can otters use tools? Pups stay with their mothers for the first 8 months of life. Sea otters live along the coasts and kelp beds of California, Alaska, and the Russian Pacific. The range of the Russian or Asian sea otter extends from northern Hokkaido, Japan to the Commander Islands in the western North Pacific. Eurasian otters are indigenous to the UK and can be found in either fresh or salt water, although it’s usually known as the river otter for the obvious reason. Such stations may facilitate communication between individuals. Animal Adoptions make great gifts for birthdays, holidays, graduations, celebrations, for the animal lover in your life and just because you care. Live near kelp beds in salt water. Although sea otters can walk comfortably on land, they prefer to live solely in the ocean. Threats to Sea Otters . Otters are carnivorous animals and fish make up 80% of their diet. The sea otter, one of the 13 otter species, is considered the smallest marine mammal in the world. Sea otters live in the northeast Pacific. Giant otters (genus Pteronura) are found mainly in slow-moving rivers and creeks within forests, swamps, and marshes. They may mistake you for a threat. Did you know you can symbolically adopt your favorite otter? Fur colour is various shades of brown with lighter underparts. Otters live in a wide variety of watery locations, from the mighty Amazon to the heart of Singapore. otter - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), otter - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). They use kelp beds to wrap themselves or tie themselves up in and to find food. Otters are found on every single continent in the world except for Australia and Antarctica. Sea otters once ranged from Mexico to Alaska and even to Japan. Females give birth in water to only one young, which remains dependent on the mother until six to eight months of age. Many sea otters live near rocky sea bottoms and shorelines, where marine communities are extremely diverse. Sea Otters hang in groups called rafts; they usually hang out by waters near shore or kelp beds and where shellfish are plentiful. Captured prey is eaten at sea while the otter swims on its back. The sea otter, however, rarely comes ashore, according to the San Diego Zoo. When these creatures are in captivity, they have a slightly larger longevity, surpassing even the 20 years. They feed on crustaceans such as crabs and shrimp, as well as mollusks and fish. Sea otters can also drink salt water and thus can remain at sea for several days at a time. Its hind feet are webbed and flat so they work more like flippers. Fish are also eaten. Two species are marine, with the others living predominantly in fresh water. Unlike other marine mammals, sea otters do not have a thick layer of blubber and rely upon their water-resistant fur for insulation. That truly is a huge amount of salt. Eat fish, crayfish, bugs, rats, and birds. Other places you will find them lingering include around rivers, streams, and lakes. North American river otters were hunted and trapped extensively for their fur in the 19th and 20th centuries, and are still hunted in some places. Sea otter – This species lives on the Pacific coast of the North American continent. Otters are part of the Mustelidae family, which is a family of … Southern sea otters range along the mainland coastline of California from San Mateo County to Santa Barbara County, and San Nicolas Island. These can grow up to 6 ft long, almost 2 meters, and have a nasty bite, so you probably wouldn’t want to own one anyway! European otter – As the name suggests this species is found in Europe and extends across parts of Asia and North Africa. The kelp acts as an anchor that the sea otters use to wrap themselves in when they are resting. Back to the top. Sharks and killer whales eat sea otters on occasion. Sea otters inhabit shallow coastal areas and prefer places with kelp. Female sea otters live to up to 20 years, while males live up to 15 years. Ninety percent of the world’s sea otters live in coastal Alaska. They are frequently found in protected harbors, barrier reefs, and kelp forests that offer shelter from wind and waves. Most otters live in dens — built by other animals, such as beavers — that are dug into the ground that have many channels and dry inner chambers. Sea otters prefer coastal habitats within a mile of the shoreline. Sea otters are sea mammals native to the eastern and northern parts of the North Pacific Ocean. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Sea otters do have a friendly and charismatic personality, but even with good intentions, it is almost never a good idea to approach a sea otter in the wild. The other small part of their lives live on the ocean floor to hunt and gather food. River otters (genus Lutra) inhabit all types of inland waterways, as well as estuaries and marine coves. Adults weigh up to 99 pounds and are the weasel family’s heaviest animals, but strangely the smallest of all marine mammals. California and Japan are the closest sea otters will live to the equator, as it is too hot to live closer, although it is still possible to live lower. Where Do Sea Otter Live? sea otters Sea otters at the Vancouver Aquarium, Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The food sea otters eat can impact the entire ecosystem in which they live. The otter has a lithe and slender body with short legs, a strong neck, and a long flattened tail that helps propel the animal gracefully through water. Currently, the California population numbers around 3,300 and is found from Half Moon Bay to Point Conception. Diet. Otters have their cubs in underground burrows, known as 'holts'. Sea otters inhabit coastal areas and islands of the eastern and western North Pacific Ocean. They rarely appear on the shore and sleep, rocking on the waves, on their backs, clinging to algae so that they are not carried away by the current. Want to watch cute sea otters romp, wrestle and play every day of the year? Where do otters live? Sea otters are usually solitary but are sometimes seen in groups—gatherings of up to 2,000 have been observed along the coast of Alaska. Sea otters live in shallow coastal waters in the northern Pacific. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? These furry marine mammals are one of only a few marine animals known to use tools to obtain their food. Every day. Where do otters live? Did you know you can symbolically adopt your favorite otter? Rocks are typically used to break open crabs and shellfish, whereas sea urchins are crushed with the forefeet and teeth. Usually in the litter there is one, rarely two covered with fur and a well-formed baby. It’s also home to the largest concentration of southern sea otters along the California coast. (Viewing Tip: Early morning is otterly pawesome!) The Marine Mammal Protection Act protects sea otters. The sea otter is the heaviest (the giant otter is longer, but significantly slimmer) member of the family Mustelidae, a diverse group that includes the 13 otter species and terrestrial animals such as weasels, badgers, and minks. The African clawless otter (Aonyx capensis), also known as the Cape clawless otter or groot otter, is the second-largest freshwater species of otter.African clawless otters are found near permanent bodies of water in savannah and lowland forest areas. Otters do not usually fly. Where do Sea otters live ? Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. Most river otters are opportunistic, feeding on whatever is most easily obtained. Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) are an easily recognized and beloved marine mammal. Sea otters at the Vancouver Aquarium, Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Tune into our LIVE Sea Otter Cam for your daily dose of sea otter cuteness. They also tend to live on the east coast of Russia and Japan. The majority of sea otters live in the Pacific Ocean, which is one of the five main biomes. The sea otter is the largest member of the weasel family and the smallest marine mammal. They all eat fish, clams, lobsters and small animals occurring along the shore. River otters hunt visually while chasing fish, but they use their manual dexterity to dislodge crabs and crayfish from under rocks. North American river otter – This species is found throughout much of Canada and parts of the United States. The Marine Mammal Protection Act protects sea otters. The 11 species often referred to as river otters are found throughout North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia in freshwater ecosystems that sustain an abundance of prey such as fish, crayfish, crabs, mussels, and frogs. The only member of the genus Enhydra, the sea otter is so different from other mustelid species that, as recently … Sea otters are found in two areas: The Pacific coasts of Russia and Alaska, and along the central California coast. Description . (See also Adaptation). What’s for Dinner – A sea otter’s favorite food is sea urchin, the horribly spiny little echinoderm (which ironically enough means “spiny skin”). It prohibits commercial harvest of sea otters, and allows Alaska natives to hunt sea otters for subsistence and creation of handicrafts. Many live in the waters surrounding public lands including Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, Kenai Fjords National Park and Glacier Bay National Park. 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