This week we celebrate sea otters with the Sea Otter Awareness Week. The days dedicated to these adorable sea creatures are September 23rd to 29th.
Sea otters are marine mammals that are native to the eastern and northern North Pacific Ocean. They are adorable and weigh from 14 to 45 kilograms (31 to 99 pounds). This makes them the heaviest members of the weasel family, but the smallest in the marine mammal family.
They usually inhabit the nearshore environments where they dive to the seafloor for food. Their usual diet has consisted of urchins, mollusks, crustaceans, and some fish.
Sea otters were nearly driven to extinction in the 18th and 19th century, but after they survived that was threatened again in the 1980s by the massive oil spills. They are strong and endurable animals and have managed to survive many catastrophes. In the past, their numbers in the world were up to million, but due to today’s fur trade, their numbers are going down and today are estimated to be around 100 000. Out of these 100 000, around 3000 live just in California.
Sea otters spend most of their lives in the water and can dive up to 330 feet when looking for food. Sea otters are known to be one of the few mammals that build and use tools. They are seen to use rocks and small objects in order to pry the shellfish from the rocks and hammer them open.
They mate throughout the whole year and the gestation period is 6-8 months. They usually give birth to one pup, but sometimes there can be twins.
The most common threats to sea otters are oil spills, shark attacks, degradation of habitat and lack of food and of course the conflict with humans (shooting for sport and for the fur industry).
Take this week to learn more about sea otters and their behavior, watch documentaries and share with friends what you have learned.
If you want to learn more, visit the website “Sea Otter Awareness Week”.
Happy Sea Otter Awareness Week!
If you liked this article, read “National Deaf Dog Awareness Week” on our blog.