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Sea Otters
February 19, 2024

Sea Otters

Prince of Whales

In the gorgeous coastal waters of BC, sea otters stand out as charismatic and essential members of marine ecosystems. These endearing creatures, often spotted floating on their backs, play a vital role in maintaining the delicate balance of coastal environments. Here are some fun facts about these adorable creatures:

They use “tools”: Sea otters showcase remarkable intelligence by using tools, primarily rocks, to crack open shellfish. Their use of these objects has earned them a reputation as one of the few non-human animals known to use tools, showcasing their adaptability and resourcefulness.

They have the densest fur: Adding to their charm, sea otters possess the densest fur of any animal, with approximately 600,000 to 1,000,000 hair follicles per square inch. This luxurious coat serves as insulation to keep them warm in the chilly waters of their coastal habitats, making them the floating fur balls we can’t help but adore. Sea otters have faced historical threats, including overhunting driven by a prized demand for their fur. Conservation efforts, however, have led to remarkable recoveries in certain regions.

Kelp Forest Guardians: Sea otters play a crucial role as a protector of kelp forests. They do so by preying on sea urchins, which graze on kelp, effectively helping to prevent overgrazing and contribute to the flourishing of these underwater ecosystems. Their positive influence on kelp forest health showcases the interconnectedness of marine life and the intricate dance of predator and prey beneath the waves.

They make great parents: Sea otters are doting parents, with females giving birth to a single pup. Mothers are deeply devoted to caring for their pups, skillfully using kelp to anchor them during hunting forays or cradling them on their bellies while they rest. The bond between a mother and her pup is strong, and the young otter completely relies on its mother for survival and for learning essential skills.

Social Butterflies: Sea otters are social animals that often form groups called “rafts.” These rafts provide companionship and serve as a way for otters to rest together, hold hands (or paws) to avoid drifting apart and engage in playful activities.

Their role as ecosystem stewards, tool users, and loving parents contribute to the overall health and vitality of the marine environments. Witnessing sea otters in action – whether floating on their backs or engaged in playful activities – is something you don’t want to miss when you come to BC!

sea otter
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