Unlike northern sea otters found in Alaska, southern sea otters here in California don’t eat fish. If sea otters migrate , it is due to the abundance of food in an area and kelp. Sea otter pups are born with a buoyant fur that does not allow them to sink. Sea otters have the densest fur of all mammals with up to 1 million hairs per square inch. california sea otters divide themselves in diet guilds. Before the fur trade of the 18th and 19th centuries, sea otters ranged along the North Pacific Rim from Hokkaido, Japan to Baja California, Mexico. Although they hunt on the sea floor, they return to the surface to eat. Sea otters, the smallest and most recently evolved of all marine mammals, are in the family Mustelidae that includes weasels, ferrets, badgers, skunks, freshwater and sea otters, and minks. From feeding habits to ecosystem maintenance, sea otters are more than meets the eye. Sea otters eat sea urchins & other invertebrates that graze on giant kelp. If you have any questions regarding the southern sea otter, please contact: Lilian Carswell - Southern Sea Otter Recovery & Marine Conservation Coordinator, By mail: The population index exceeded 3,090 for the first time in 2016. These forests are one of the most dynamic and richest marine ecosystems in the world, possessing high density of biomass and greater productivity. Keystone species are organisms that have large-scale community effects disproportionate to their abundance. Sea otters also maintain a high level of internal heat production to compensate for their lack of blubber. On average, an adult male California sea otter consumes over 4,000 calories daily. These stressors include biotoxins produced during harmful algal or cyanobacterial blooms, disease-causing pathogens such as the protozoal parasites Toxoplasma gondii and Sarcocystis neurona, and acanthocephalan parasites. Northern sea otters are larger, up to 70 pounds (32 kg) for females and 100 pounds (45 kg) for males. California’s southern sea otter has been listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act since 1977. 3. The current range extends along the California coast from Half Moon Bay in the north to Santa Barbara in the south, though individuals are occasionally seen outside these limits. The Southern Sea Otter is found in California. In Thailand, the ranges of at least three otter species overlap. Sea otters are related to skunks and weasels. Sea otters eat many kinds of invertebrates, including sea urchins, abalone, clams, crabs, snails, sea stars, squid & octopuses. The southern sea otter, one of 13 different species of river and sea otters worldwide, ranges from Año Nuevo, north of Santa Cruz, to Purisima Point, north of Point Conception. Sea otters have a profound impact on the coastal habitats which is why they are rightly known as keystone species. Most Sea Otter "raft" in kelp beds with other otters. Education. Reduced range and population size, vulnerability to oil spills, and oil spill risk from coastal tanker traffic were the primary reasons for listing. Because of its smart brain, sea otter uses its hand and take a rock to dislodge the invertebrate animal from its shell before the sea otter eats it. With few exceptions, their prey consist of slow moving benthic invertebrates and shellfish. The sea otter spends most of its time in the water but, in some locations, comes ashore to sleep or rest. Sea otters have no blubber so they constantly groom themselves to maintain the insulating & water repellant properties of their fur. Sea otters primarily rely on their sense of touch (whiskers and forepaws) in murky waters to locate prey. Sea otters are one of the only mammals that are been known to use tools to obtain and eat their prey. OCEANWALKERS Sea Otters live in coastal waters & estuaries. Sea otters use rocks to remove prey from their shells. Southern sea otters inhabit shallow nearshore coastal ecosystems within 1-2 km from shore. Predators and Prey of the Sea Otter The sea otter's diet includes about 40 marine species, including urchins, crabs, clams, abalones, mussels, and snails. Can otters use tools? Sea otters don’t have blubber or fat to keep them warm like other marine mammals. US Fish and Wildlife Service Want to watch cute sea otters romp, wrestle and play every day of the year? For southern sea otters to be considered for delisting under the Endangered Species Act, the population index would have to exceed 3,090 for three consecutive years, according to the Southern Sea Otter Recovery Plan. The translocation program allowed the reintroduction of sea otters to San Nicolas Island but also required the removal of sea otters from a âno-otterâ management zone. Average dive depth for California sea otters is about 20 feet. Newborn sea otter pups are so buoyant they can’t immediately dive for food. Unlike other marine mammals, sea otters do not have a thick layer of blubber and rely upon their water-resistant fur for insulation. The Southern Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) also goes by the name California Sea Otter and has the distinction of being one the heaviest members of the weasel family, yet one of the smallest marine mammals. The existence of sea otter is helping the ecosystem to be balance. Pups begin to dive and forage at about 2 months. A sea otter relies on its fur to keep warm because it doesn't have an insulating layer of blubber as other marine mammals do. Although called a "river otter", it inhabits both marine and freshwater environments. A much larger population exists in Alaska (more than 70,000 individuals), and a sizeable population (estimated at more than 25,000 sea otters) exists in Russia. Sea otters have built in pouches of loose skin under their forearms to stash extra prey when diving. Floating on its back and using its chest as a table, a sea otter often uses a rock to crack open its prey — especially if dinner is a crab, clam or mussel. There daily life usually consists of clams and mussels to eat and rock finding. Sea otter pups. Pups are born year round. Today, southern sea otters live along the central coast of California; northern sea otters live along the coasts of Washington, Canada, and Alaska. Hopefully not stinky skunks!!! A very small relocated population resides in Southern California at San Nicolas Island of the Channel Islands. The Northern Sea Otter is found in Washington, Canad a, and Alaska. 1. Sea otters naturally thrive in nearshore habitats. A lanugo is a very soft, downy hair that develops in humans as well as animals. Southern sea otters can live to approximately 15 years for males and 16 years for females. Sea otters play a vital role in the health and stability of the nearshore marine ecosystem as a keystone species. Mating and pupping occur throughout the year, but on average across the range, a peak period of pupping occurs from October to January, with a secondary peak in March and April. Sea otter counts are conducted annually by the U.S. Geological Survey. Unlike most other marine mammals, they have little subcutaneous fat, relying instead on their clean, dense, water resistant fur for insulation against the cold. Images of them eating, swimming, and even interacting with humans can be found here. Fact2: Weighing between 30 and 100 pounds, the sea otter is the world’s smallest species of marine mammal. Fact1: Sea otters have incredibly fast metabolisms; a 60-pound adult sea otter eats at least 15 pounds of food (25% of its body weight) each and every day. southern sea otter 88 lbs). It must eat 20% to 25% of its body weight every day to maintain normal body temperature, so it will spend much of the day foraging. Otters do not have blubber, instead air is trapped within their fur to keep them warm. They can have over 1,000,000 hairs per square inch on their bodies! They need a lot of food so that they stay healthy. Sea otters do not migrate and hardly ever travel far unless they are in search for food. Most common prey for California sea otters are Rock and Dungeness crabs. Longest dive ever recorded was just under 8 minutes. Sea otters naturally thrive in nearshore habitats. Sea otters often float at the water's surface in forests of kelp, or giant seaweed, and entangle themselves to keep from moving in the rolling sea. Currently the southern sea otter population is estimated at just above 3,000 animals. In particular, they play a vital role in preserving the kelp forests. Southern sea otters are among the smallest of marine mammals, with adult females and males averaging 46 and 64 pounds, respectively. What's cuter than two furry sea otters? In Russia, the count has come down to 15,000 and only a few dozens are left in Japan. Sea otter pup fur is known as a lanugo. In fact, at 850,000 to one million hairs per square inch, they have the thickest fur of any mammal. How Do Sea Otters Eat? On an adult animal, there are an estimated 650,000 hairs per square inch. The animals that they prey on devour kelp forests. Adult males average 65 lbs. As a keystone species, the southern sea otters play a critical role in keeping the California kelp forest ecosystem healthy. Description. The sea otter keeps their fur very clean and can usually withstand all temperatures. Sea Otter Facts Sea otters are the smallest marine mammal. iStock Once thought to be gone from the area completely, southern sea otters—known as California sea otters—have been making a … Sea Otter Sea otters are a keystone species, meaning their role in their environment has a greater effect than other species. As a consequence of their threatened status, southern sea otters are also recognized as depleted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. They can use a rock to dislodge mollusks and urchins from the rocks where they are attached. A quick glance at facts about California's southern sea otter population.
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