The coloring of adult sea otters tends to be lighter on their heads, throats, and chests. Their front paws are used to find prey in the dark murky water, with their whiskers helping them with this task. • Identify the body parts and behaviors of a seal. As already mentioned, sea otters and river otters are members of the weasel family which, perhaps surprisingly, also includes badgers, minks, wolverines, skunks, and, of course, weasels. Their muscular tails, which are short and thick, steer them like a rudder when swimming and help with balance on land. The sure way to differentiate between the two is the fact that on the surface of the water river otters swim with their belly facing downwards,  their bodies almost submerged, but sea otters do backstroke while floating fairly high above the surface of the water. Sea otters are strong and seasoned swimmers, and they maneuver themselves with ease in the water, using their feet and tails expertly. The Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris) is the smallest marine mammal in North America – males measure 1.2 metres in length and weigh an average of 45 kilograms (females are a bit smaller).At the same time, the Sea Otter is the largest member of its family, the mustelids, which includes River Otters, weasels, badgers, wolverines and martens. Sea otters, as the name suggests, are marine animals, and they live just off the coasts of the Northern and Eastern Pacific Ocean. The variety in the sea otter diet reduces competition between benthic grazers and supports greater diversity in those species. The scientific name means "otter cat", and in Spanish, the marine otter is also often referred to as gato marino: "marine cat". In the years from about the 1740s and the early 1900s, the population of sea otters plummeted from about 200,000 animals to just about 2000 due to their being extensively hunted and killed for their thick fur. Sea Otter vs Beaver: Fight Comparison (Beaver vs Otter) If we compare a beaver with an otter, the beaver is largest and has sharp teeth and more mass that will help to attack its opponent. A sea otter! Also found along the west coast of Scotland. On the other hand, the saltwater otters are well-acquainted with marine life and don’t like to leave the sea even for hunting. The condition and cleanliness of this fur are essential to ensure warmth, and therefore sea otters are meticulous about grooming. We live in a beautiful world, get out there and enjoy it. Instead, they have very thick fur coats. The marine otter is larger than the Eurasian Otter. However, science and conservation-based management decisions began about 60 years ago, and much of the research on sea otters in the United States has occurred since the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Sea otters are a keystone species, meaning their role in their environment has a greater effect than other species. Here are a few to get you started, plus some basic information about how they fit into the otter pet trade: 1. There are only a handful of non-primate species known to use tools, including dolphins and octopuses. Marine otters are foraging predators that eat a wide variety of prey. These fun-loving, raucous boys spend a great deal of time on land exploring, searching for food, clowning around and generally having a great time—much to the delight of our visitors. As top predators, sea otters are critical to maintaining the balance of nearshore ecosystems, such as kelp forests, embayments and estuaries. These animals are the smallest of marine animals, and they were once hunted almost to the point of extinction. Sea otters are mainly native to the northeastern seaboards of the Pacific Ocean, so they aren’t spotted in areas like the East Coast or the Gulf of Mexico. Sea otters vs. river otters Many people don’t know the difference between sea otters and river otters — but, with a little info, you’ll be able to tell right away. This allows the kelp forest to thrive and contributes to an increase in marine diversity. These animals are the smallest of marine animals, and they were once hunted almost to the point of extinction. Adult sea otters typically weigh between 14 and 45 kg (31 and 99 lb), making them the heaviest members of the weasel family, but among the smallest marine mammals. This system traps a layer of air next to their skin so their skin does not get wet. Many people don’t know the difference between sea otters and river otters—but, with a little info, you’ll be able to tell right away. The fur has long waterproof hairs which lie over a layer of short underfur which insulates the sea otters body. Otters have some interesting relatives. This animal is the largest otter species by weight. What does an Otter eat? The sea otter is, however, still an endangered species and their health is constantly monitored. The sea otter (Enhydra lutris) is a marine mammal native to the coasts of the northern and eastern North Pacific Ocean. Besides, the sea otter typically rubs its face with its paws, since the fur on the face helps to keep its paws warm. I, too, assumed that sea + otter = sea otter. However, just because an otter is spotted on the coast does not mean it’s a sea otter. Sea otters rest by wrapping themselves in kelp to keep from drifting away. This species is aptly named because sea otters rarely come on land. In the wild, river otters make their homes in a variety of habitats, near both marine and fresh water. River otters live most of their lives on solid ground and use the water to travel and find food. Based on the sequence data presented here, our results suggest that otters are divided into three primary clades that include: (1) the North American river, neotropical and marine otters; (2) the sea, Eurasian, spotted‐necked, cape clawless and small‐clawed otters; and (3) the giant otter. The gait of sea otters on land is somewhat clumsy, but river otters can sprint short distances at high speed. In fact, at 850,000 to one million hairs per square inch, they have the thickest fur of any mammal. Get news and updates delivered to your inbox, Privacy & Terms© 2021, Seattle Aquarium is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit. First, sea otters are two to three times the size of river otters — and, when at the water’s surface, they float on their backs, while river otters … The two types of otter are similar in appearance, both with thick coats and long, muscular tails, and they both have webbed feet. This saltwater exclusivity is unlike most other otter species, except for the almost fully aquatic s… There are other important differences between these two species as well: Northern sea otters are found only in coastal areas, with a range that extends north from the Washington coast, along the outer edge of Vancouver Island, and up to Alaska. Pups stay with their mothers for about six months. Click here for a brochure on the differences between sea otters and river otters. For other uses, see Sea otter (disambiguation). Learn more. Their fur actually consists of two layers, an undercoat and longer guard hairs. Sea otters prey on sea urchins, thereby preventing sea urchins from overgrazing the kelp forest. In fact, this fur is the most abundant among all animals on earth. The marine otter (while spending much of its time out of the water) only lives in saltwater, coastal environments and rarely ventures into freshwater or estuarine habitats. These animals spend most of the time in the water, but they can move around on the land also. Sea otters are usually dark brown, often with lighter guard h… In coastal waters, they can be found traveling and foraging in estuaries, marshes and the lower parts of streams. They have an interesting method of eating their prey. The Seattle Aquarium is temporarily closed to the public. While they prefer invertebrates, including crabs, clams, and other hard-shelled groups, they are also known to eat some fishes, juvenile birds, and even other mammals. Introducing our playful, always-entertaining river otters, Molalla and Ahanu! They are most known for floating on their backs with a stone on their chest. Also, female sea otters give birth to just one pup at a time—river otters may give birth to several cubs in a litter. Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) have been managed under international law longer (starting in 1911) than most marine mammal species (Figure 1). They are both fissipeds, “split-footed” members of the order Carnivora, and are more closely related to terrestrial carnivores, like weasels, than seals or … SEA OTTERS FAST FACTS. First, sea otters are two to three times the size of river otters—and, when at the water’s surface, they float on their backs, while river otters swim belly down like most animals. The sea otter spends most of its time in the water but, in some locations, comes ashore to sleep or rest. Two Alaska marine mammals are neither pinniped nor cetacean: the polar bear and sea otter. Habitat: Otters can be found beside rivers, streams and lakes, mostly in north and west England and Wales. Sea otters spend most of their time in the water, only occasionally climbing onto land, but river otters stay on land for the majority of the time and go swimming in order to find prey. Sea Otters have fully webbed, long, flat hind feet which they use to swim. One of these otters is the Sea Otter, which is found in the Pacific Coast of North America. Sea otters, as the name suggests, are marine animals, and they live just off the coasts of the Northern and Eastern Pacific Ocean. Sea Otters and Polar Bears: Marine Fissipeds. Sea otters are streamlined and sleek and can reach speeds of up to six miles per hour. Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) are the smallest of all marine mammals and are members of the weasel family. Upon returning to the surface, they float on their backs, with the rock on the stomachs. The Sea Otter's scientific name is Enhydra lutris, which means "otter that lives in the water". The MMPA gave the Department of Interior (DOI) management responsibility for polar bears, walrus, sea otters, manatees and dugongs. Sea otter: Illegal to own under the Marine Animal Protection Act. Physical characteristics: Male northern sea otters average 70–100 pounds and 4.5 feet in length, including tail. They use the rock as a table against which they smash their shelled prey to … Male northern fur seals are up to six times larger than females. Otters are part of the Mustelidae family, which is a family of … They are covered with thick fur which is predominantly dark brown, but it can sometimes be black or a silvery gray. These seals can remain underwater for close to 30 minutes! Tracks are usually at least 2cm wide (wider than your thumbprint). Mating, birth, and nursing take pl… Their diet consists mostly of shellfish and other marine invertebrates like mussels, clams, snails, abalone, and sea urchins. I just got clan farm a few minutes ago, and I'm waiting for 300 clams so I can get urchin farm. Students will be able to: • Identify the body parts and behaviors of a sea otter. Otter spraints are messy smudges with a distinct, not unpleasant smell, and contain bones and fish scale remains. Otters usually eat crustaceans, fish, frog, rodents, and the marine invertebrates with hard shells like crab, mussels, etc. They are the heaviest member of the weasel family, Even though they are the second smallest marine mammal. The marine otter (Lontra felina) is a rare and relatively unknown South American mammal of the weasel family (Mustelidae). Because Sea Otters spend so much time in cold waters, they have a very dense layer of fur as opposed to a thick blubber layer like whales, sea lions and seals. In recent years there has been much effort put into returning sea otter populations to previous numbers with conservation programs and re-introduction projects. Like other members of this family, they have very thick fur. Unlike many species of weasels, scientists believe the marine otter to be monogamous. Sea otters are a marine mammal that live off the coasts of the northern and eastern north pacific ocean. But instead, I held back and listened to the conversation, thinking back to ten years ago or so when I first saw river otters in the ocean. They bear the thickest fur of all mammals! Outdoor Revival – Reconnecting us all with the Outdoors. Sea otters were hunted to near-extinction for their fur in the 1700s and 1800s. Like many land mammals, river otters use their fur coats to keep warm. They weigh between 30 and 100 pounds. The otters belong to the weasel family Mustelidae. Not all otters use tools, but sea otters use them all the time. It can defend itself against opponents without getting any wounds. Sea otters are members of the weasel or mustelid family. Sea otters usually hold hands with each other to prevent the current from separating them. Sea otters dive to rocky reefs, where they collect invertebrates and also a large rock. If you have a good story to tell or blog let us know about it on our FB page, we’re also happy for article or review submissions, we’d love to hear from you. To keep their thick fur waterproof, they spend hours grooming. Reproduction River otters live in dens, which they can make themselves in shrubbery or along riverbanks—and they are also happy to take up residence in abandoned beaver, badger, fox or rabbit dwellings. Next, the tail of a sea otter is short and flattened; a river otter’s tail is long and pointed. Then in 1914 a remnant population of about 50 southern sea otters was found along the rugged Big Sur shoreline. The air trapped within the thick fur of their coats coupled with an incredible lung capacity (about 2.5 times more than any other mammals of the same size) makes the sea otter very buoyant. Once you’ve guessed, you can see each otter’s picture on our sea otter fact sheet. The sea otter is known for its unusual "backstroke." 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