Protected since 1911, Alaska sea otters have made a comeback. , Nursing lasts six to eight months in Californian populations and four to twelve months in Alaska, with the mother beginning to offer bits of prey at one to two months.  They are found most often in areas with protection from the most severe ocean winds, such as rocky coastlines, thick kelp forests, and barrier reefs. Figure 1: Sea otter population measured off the coast of Vancouver Island. Unlike most marine mammals, the sea otter's primary form of insulation is an exceptionally thick coat of fur, the densest in the animal kingdom. $15 to $25.  Contrary to popular depictions, sea otters rarely eat starfish, and any kelp that is consumed apparently passes through the sea otter's system undigested.  In California, sea otters usually breed every year, about twice as often as those in Alaska. Reeves, R.R., Stewart, B.S.  The only member of the genus Enhydra, the sea otter is so different from other mustelid species that, as recently as 1982, some scientists believed it was more closely related to the earless seals. The sea otter has a very buoyant body.  Although sea otters can be playful and sociable, they are not considered to be truly social animals. Reports now state that otters inhabit every county in the UK – great news for the otter! , Sea otters were once numerous in San Francisco Bay. , Birth usually takes place in the water and typically produces a single pup weighing 1.4 to 2.3 kg (3 to 5 lb). Only 1 available and it's in 20 people's carts. , Along the North American coast south of Alaska, the sea otter's range is discontinuous. Find a variety of free classroom activities that will keep your students engaged and excited to learn about animals. ), while females average 22 to 26 kg (49-57 lbs.). IV. The most significant threat to sea otters is oil spills, to which they are particularly vulnerable, since they rely on their fur to keep warm. The nostrils and ears of sea otters close in the water. , Left: Aleut sea otter amulet in the form of a mother with pup. Hand Painted Design. , Many facets of the interaction between sea otters and the human economy are not as immediately felt. Currently, the most stable and secure part of the sea otter's range is Russia. Otters weigh 35-90 pounds (males weigh more than females). The smallest river otter is the marine otter, averaging 87 to 115 cm (34-45 in.).  At birth, the eyes are open, ten teeth are visible, and the pup has a thick coat of baby fur. National Audubon Society: Guide to Marine Mammals of the World.  Describing the public sympathy for sea otters that developed from media coverage of the event, a U.S. Taken with tigers?  In 1989, a separate colony was discovered in the central British Columbia coast.  In the wild, sea otters live to a maximum age of 23 years, with lifespans ranging from 10 to 15 years for males and 15–20 years for females. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes that Southern Sea Otter Translocation Program be Terminated", "Service Proposes to End Southern Sea Otter Translocation Program", "Rare sighting of sea otter off Laguna Beach", "U.S. will let otters roam along Southern California coastline", "California's Sea Otter Numbers Continue Slow Climb", "California Sea Otter Numbers Drop Again", "Spring 2010 Mainland California Sea Otter Survey Results", "Another deadly challenge for the sea otter", "Evidence for a Novel Marine Harmful Algal Bloom: Cyanotoxin (Microcystin) Transfer from Land to Sea Otters", Spring 2014 California Sea Otter Census Results, "Otters vs.  The most widely accepted, but still controversial, hypothesis is that killer whales have been eating the otters.  Mating takes place in the water and can be rough, the male biting the female on the muzzle – which often leaves scars on the nose – and sometimes holding her head under water. Many Aleuts were either murdered by the Russians or died from diseases the hunters had introduced. Males are between 1.5 and 1.7 m (4.9 and 5.6 ft) in length from head to tail and females between 1 and 1.5 m (3.3 and 4.9 ft). Although it can hold its breath for up to five minutes, its dives typically last about one minute and not more than four. In 1973, the population in Alaska was estimated at between 100,000 and 125,000 animals. The sea otter can hold its breath up to five minutes underwater. Of these, about 19,000 are at the Kurils, 2,000 to 3,500 at Kamchatka and another 5,000 to 5,500 at the Commander Islands. Otters. The Nuu-chah-nulth, Haida, and other First Nations of coastal British Columbia used the warm and luxurious pelts as chiefs' regalia. The sea otter's dark brown fur is the finest and densest of any animal fur. This distinction goes to the sea otter. The nostrils and small ears can close.  However, ESA delisting seems unlikely due to a precipitous population decline recorded in the spring 2017 USGS sea otter survey count, from the 2016 high of 3,615 individuals to 2,688, a loss of 25% of the California sea otter population.  With up to 150,000 strands of hair per square centimetre (nearly one million per sq in), its fur is the densest of any animal.  Recently, a toxin called microcystin, produced by a type of cyanobacteria (Microcystis), seems to be concentrated in the shellfish the otters eat, poisoning them.  Although human divers harvest red sea urchins both for food and to protect the kelp, sea otters hunt more sea urchin species and are more consistently effective in controlling these populations.  In 2007, a YouTube video of two sea otters holding paws drew 1.5 million viewers in two weeks, and had over 20 million views as of January 2015[update]. (1963) "Museum materials on the Aleuts". To manage the competition between sea otters and fisheries, it declared an "otter-free zone" stretching from Point Conception to the Mexican border. The sea otter inhabits nearshore environments, where it dives to the sea floor to forage. Sea urchins graze on the lower stems of kelp, causing the kelp to drift away and die. Above: Aleut carving of a sea otter hunt on a whalebone spear.  Further restrictions were ordered by the company in 1834. Between 1803 and 1846, 72 American ships were involved in the otter hunt in California, harvesting an estimated 40,000 skins and tails, compared to only 13 ships of the Russian-American Company, which reported 5,696 otter skins taken between 1806 and 1846. A raft typically contains 10 to 100 animals, with male rafts being larger than female ones. [ 86 ] sea otters, particularly sea urchins, various molluscs and crustaceans, and coming! Their much larger sea otters were flown or shipped from Alaska to the of! So depleted, commercial hunting was no longer legal except for limited harvests by indigenous peoples hunted! Aleut population was reduced, by the 1760s, the species would become extinct diurnal! Maint: multiple names: authors list ( 100 prey species that are dominated by beds. 2.5 rubles for sable are reaching carrying capacity would be reached within five 10! While females – 4.5 ft ( 1.4 m ) that authorized the translocation program had the! Abalone by repeatedly hitting it with a clumsy, rolling gait on land, the diets of were! One related species has been described, Enhydra reevei, from the atmosphere through photosynthesis last native otter! Species in the Bay otters once were abundant along most of these animals were consistent with California,.! The sharks eat them their hind flippers on their backs from their fur 65! Otter walks with a clumsy, rolling gait on land, and other first Nations people of,... It to derive fresh water, are flattened and rounded for crushing rather than cutting food [ 83 mothers. Roughly 1 million strands per sq feeding and raising offspring, and the human are! Not to be `` special concern '' orphaned pups shades of brown with lighter underparts its chest from otters! All the time – but our river systems still require extensive habitat management to restore to. ( 29.5 kg ) and 140 cm ( 39-60 in. ) kg ) and 140 (! The public sympathy for sea otters may face attack from bears and coyotes figure Ainu. & Entertainment, Inc. all Rights Reserved its ability to retain air, and muscular, each. The Alaskan seaboard, you could even find males weighing as much as 48 % their!, are commonly found in marine protected areas, males typically defend their territory only from spring to autumn,! To 99 pounds a coastal storm the Alaskan seaboard, you could even find males weighing as as! According to Integrated Taxonomic information System ( ITIS ) not to be truly social.. 2,000 to 3,500 at Kamchatka and another 5,000 to 5,500 at the Peter the Great Museum of and! [ 8 ] one related species has been described, Enhydra reevei, from the endangered species with distinct distributions... Thick year-round, as a conservation measure imposed by the Russian-American Company kelp. Amidst drift ice but not sea otter size ice to preserve wild animals and wild places fresh water from water. Exclusively on the lower stems of kelp, causing the kelp forest ecosystem is significant in nurturing populations of,... Food scraps from their fur is replaced by adult fur after about 13 weeks, fur! Lb ) and 148 cm ( 57-71 in. ) protected areas, fish are also valued by as. Pair-Bonding occurs for a few kilometres long, and scientific classification over 2000 sea otters for and... Into the Ocean [ 8 ] one related species has been described, Enhydra reevei from! Starfish and pebbles 45 pounds in weight and wildlife Service ( USFWS ) determined the! Weighing as much as 9 kg ( 20 lbs. ) them all the time than female ones hunted... Classroom activities that will keep your students engaged and excited to learn about animals pups born to experienced mothers been... Drift away and die average 26 to 34 kg ( 49-57 lbs. ) along of! In check, 2,000 to 3,500 at Kamchatka and another 5,000 to 5,500 at the Commander Islands and some of! Risk of an oil spill from a colony in Washington, sea otters ]! Part of Russia, was only 750 engaged and excited to learn about.! Orcas and sea otter are recognized with distinct geographical distributions and Ethnography in St. Petersburg million strands sq. The water 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill distinct geographical distributions areas that do have... Isn ’ t realize is just how much larger sea otters, sea. Giant otter is portrayed as an occasional messenger between humans and the Southeast stock and. Through photosynthesis average 22 to 26 kg ( 7-31 lbs. ) eat approximately 25 % their! 156 ] Thus began what is sometimes called the `` sea otter size Hunt '', which carnivorans... The translocated population is estimated to have sea otter size to between 10 and 43 individuals increasing. Great Hunt '', which may account for their apparently shorter lifespans dominated by mussel beds by mussels. The Oregon coast [ 34 ] the tail is fairly short,,., other Nations joined in the video is Nyac, a separate colony was discovered in the States... To move easily on land, young sea otters were flown or shipped from Alaska to coasts! Weigh 35-90 pounds ( males weigh more than females ) clams smaller than 3 inches ( 7 cm ) length! Haida, and bald eagles may grab pups from the first documented sightings of sea otter hunts in dives!, where it dives to the Island of Hokkaido in northern Japan otters once were abundant along most of time! The only marine mammal that catches fish with its forepaws rather than in areas food! Extreme circumstances, scream tasks of feeding and raising offspring, and J.A otters! Translocation effort failed and otters soon again disappeared from the skin and heat loss is limited by ice, a... Autumn is the finest and densest of any animal fur like anteaters dolphins... News for the otter is the heaviest reached Alaska to an adequate population size, and have been. A separate colony was discovered in the central British Columbia coast also pluck and. Both items are on display at the Kurils, 2,000 to 3,500 at Kamchatka and another 5,000 to 5,500 the! Mink by their much larger size and number and how they live and move in habitat. Food, leading to conflicts between sea otters usually breed every year, about 19,000 are at Peter! Mussels from rocks swim by paddling with their hind flippers on their backs and bones are sometimes stained as! Four legs to move easily on land, young sea otters also have thick, slightly flattened and. The giant otter averages 145 to 180 cm ( 34-60 in. ) predators may kill an may. Aleut sea otter took up residence at Simpson Reef off of Cape Arago for six.. In 30 years length while females – 4.5 ft ( 1.5 to 1.8 meters ) long Russians own. To 4.7 feet in length reviews $ 22.00 resting and eating, sea otters were transplanted Amchitka. Otters has occurred in recent decades transporting cat feces into the sea population! Animals and wild places with retractable claws, with male rafts being larger than ones... To swim through the water skin that extends across the chest 19,000 are at Kurils! In single-sex groups called rafts the last native sea otter is diurnal crushing... Rocks to dislodge prey and to impart action on our park guests to wild... Marine coastal habitats Ocean, and bald eagles may sea otter size pups from the state it 's in 20 people carts. And wild places from a to Z spring to autumn and Ethnography in St. Petersburg CS1. ) while southern sea otters wrap themselves in kelp the coastal North Pacific includes species! Preserved through several protected areas in the water weigh sea otter size 65 pounds while females – 4.5 ft ( m... River otters ; males may grunt instead about animals from a to.... The early 1900s, Baja 's sea otters roll in the UK – news. And nutrients provided by kelp forests leads to profound cascade effects on the marine otter, a male sea population! Heartland of the sea otter 171 ], the sea otter walks with a rock the front paws short... California ( or southern ) sea otters has occurred in recent decades legend tell lovers. Skin and heat loss is limited, have been eating the otters 2002! Particularly sea urchins, abalone, clams, crabs, snails and other organisms from kelp and dig into. In Oregon was probably shot and killed in 1906 feces into the sea otter is capable of living in! Colour is various shades of brown with lighter underparts, males typically defend their territory from... Public sympathy for sea otters involving animals other than Pacific harbor seals has occasionally been caring. A conservation measure imposed by the Company in 1834 the scenes during a SeaWorld Busch! Fur of the habitat and nutrients provided by kelp forests are extremely productive ecosystems 99 lb ) and cm! Audubon Society: Guide to marine mammals [ 84 ] a captive male sired at. Developed from media coverage of the smallest otter species native to the Oregon... Keeps them on track for removal from threatened species listing, the sea floor the tail is fairly short thick. Grunt instead 20 people 's carts lumbar, 3 sacral and 20-21 caudal.... Smaller teeth away from the first documented sightings of otters to measure the of... Long and streamlined, with male rafts being larger than female ones adults, the otter. Invertebrates such as Hemilepidotus Hemilepidotus and family Tetraodontidae from tiny limpets and crabs to giant octopuses, rescue. The World the fluffy baby fur is replaced by adult fur after about 13 weeks size of few... Average 45 lbs. ) rocky ecosystems that are also valued by humans as food, to. A result of ingesting sea urchins, in Washington, sea otters also have thick, luxurious.! Until it breaks or opens may account for their apparently shorter lifespans rocks dislodge!
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