Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Sea Otter

The sea otter is quite the unique animal. It’s the heaviest otter in the world, reaching weights of up to 100lbs, and is also the only otter that is almost entirely aquatic. Though capable of walking on land, sea otters actually spend more time in the ocean than some seals.

Sea otters historically inhabited Pacific coastal regions in eastern Russia and western North America from Mexico to Alaska. Current populations are more sporadic, with the largest populations living in Russia.
Unlike other aquatic mammals, sea otters do not have blubber and depend entirely on their fur for insulation. Luckily, this fur happens to be the densest in the animal kingdom, with up to one million hairs per square inch! By comparison, humans only have about 2000 hairs per square inch on their heads.
Sea otters are a very important species to aquatic ecosystems. They consume a wide variety of invertebrates such as sea urchins, clams, mussels, and bivalves, helping to protect beneficial marine plants such as kelp. Conservation efforts are continuously underway to help restore this important animal to all of its former range.

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