However, a 150-year period of ruthless exploitation began with Vitus Bering's exploration of the Aleutians and Gulf of Alaska in 1741. The California population, a separate subspecies (variety) named the "Southern Sea Otter," is afforded additional Federal protection as a Threatened Species under the U.S. Entanglement in fishing nets may cause significant losses in some parts of their range. Penguins are adorable! Their fur actually consists of two layers, an undercoat and longer guard hairs. Although young may be born at any time of year, most births occur in spring or early summer. In South America 6-foot long river otters still exist. Males mature at five or six years but may not breed until somewhat older. Females are slightly smaller. Seriously. See “Sea Otter photo” and read interesting facts about sea otters and their special role in the marine ecosystem. These small, plump seals have spotted gray to black coats. Sea otters are members of the weasel or mustelid family. Well, they don't turn to seals like the otters do ... they just rape a male instead. It takes a lot of resources to feed an otter - they need to eat approximately 25% of their body weight every single day. Hundreds of thousands were also obtained along the Alaska to California coastline. The female otter also runs a risk of drowning during intercourse. coast, could be catastrophic. In the wild, sea otters live to a maximum age of 23 years, with average lifespans of 10–15 years for males and 15–20 years for females. The journals of such explorers, and the luxuriant pelts they brought back, revealed to the world the commercial potential of this far-flung resource. Instead, they have an extremely dense coat of fur which helps to trap a layer of air close to their skin to keep them warm. The tail is about one-third the length of head and body; the River Otter's is about twothirds. Most mating in northern waters is in the fall. The flipperlike hindfeet have short, sparse fur. A couple years ago a porpoise washed up on the shore in California that was badly beaten and bruised, with several broken bones. The friendliest of all sea animals. While eating, Sea Otters float on their backs, using their chest as a dinner table, and are often accompanied by gulls and small fish which scavenge on leftovers. There were three releases totalling 89 Sea Otters (taken from Amchitka Island and Prince William Sound) at the Bunsby Islands in Checleset Bay, on Vancouver Island, during this time. (Marine Mammal Science, 1994, vol. However, studies in Alaska and California have shown that many adult males make yearly or more frequent trips of 80 to 145 km from male rafts to establish temporary breeding territories in female areas. Unfortunately, some people are disappointed in the women who have attempted to become Navy SEALs and came out unsuccessful. Sea otters eat mainly invertebrates. Oh no. Folds of skin are squeezed between the forepaws or with the tongue to remove moisture. Sea Otters are frequently seen in large social groups, resting or feeding on their backs in offshore kelp beds. River Otters seldom occur in groups larger than a single family (although families can include three or four young), don't rest on their backs, and come ashore frequently. This website uses cookies to improve user experience. Females with small pups tend to be solitary and to act aggressively toward other otters. Spring or early summer births may result in better survival than births at other seasons. Populations of otters along the Alaskan and Canadian coast, which had recovered to a few hundred thousand, were driven back down to just a few thousand. 4.When otters have paws, seals have flippers. The Sea Otter has been assigned Endangered status by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), and receives legal protection as a marine mammal under the Canada Fisheries Act. Female sea otters are ready to bear young at three to four years, and normally give birth to one pup. 5.Unlike otters, seals tend to spend more time on land. Harbor seals . Dolphins and porpoises do not compete for food or territory, and porpoises do not pose a threat to dolphins. Most daytime foraging activity occurs in the morning and late afternoon, most resting around midday. Sea lions and seals are not related to other marine mammals, but are actually Caniformes, just like bears and the domestic dog. And then there's the rape. In fact, at 850,000 to one million hairs per square inch, they have the thickest fur of any mammal. River Otters frequent rivers and lakes, but are also common in saltwater along the entire British Columbia coast. Sure, they are incredibly intelligent, always look like they’re smiling, and rescue the occasional stranded swimmer -  but that doesn’t excuse the fact that they kill for fun and like otters, enjoy a spot of rape from time to time. Their utility as a sentinel (or indicator) of ecosystem health is further increased by their near-shore distribution, their extraordinary appeal to the general public (a fact that generates community support for monitoring efforts), and because they are relatively easy to observe. During 126 years of Russian control, more than 800 000 are believed to have been taken in Alaska alone. Please enable Javascript and refresh the page to continue. An otter in the sea is usually not a Sea Otter!The Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris) is our smallest marine mammal, but is one of the largest of the world's 13 otter species - males weigh up to 45 kilograms and reach 148 centimetres in length. The body is entirely furred except for the tip of the nose, inside of the ears, and palms of the stubby mitten-like forefeet. There is much to learn during the period of dependency. That said, chimps regularly engage in behavior that just doesn’t fly in human societies. Small pups suckle while lying on the female's chest; when larger they nurse while lying beside her in the water. To maintain body heat in chilly north Pacific waters, Sea Otters have a metabolic rate two or three times that of land mammals of similar size. An adult tamarin, desperately seeking to rescue the youngster, is then eaten by the margay. Prior to decimation by the fur trade, Sea Otters were found in a great arc around the North Pacific: from northern Japan via the coastlines of the Kuril Islands, Kamchatka, Commander and Aleutian Islands, Gulf of Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California, south to the vicinity of Cedros Island, Mexico. When dry, the fur on the head is cinnamon to light brown. Air in the fur, together with large lungs (an adaptation for diving) cause Sea Otters to float high in the water. Male rafts are usually larger (up to 100 or more in Alaska); but female rafts may contain up to 40 adults with their pups. Sea otters aren't even the scariest otters, believe it or not. Main Characteristics Of The Sea Otters Anatomy. White Sharks. Also Know, do orcas eat sea otters? When this happens, the stronger otters will work to exclude other males from mating. But they don't just kidnap babies. Human-caused mortality, though much reduced since the early 1900s, is still a cause for concern. While mothers and pups are usually solitary, sea otters can form social groups of up to a few dozen. His report on the sexual behaviors of these penguins was deemed too extreme for publication and was hidden for one hundred years. Sea otters and seals are in many ways different, but are also similar. Their foraging has thus had a profound influence on nearshore reef communities. Some males will hold otter pups hostage until the mother pays a ransom of food to the male. Endangered Species Act. This is fairly common in the animal kingdom by the way - it's been spotted in lions, meerkats, langurs  and many more. The males will grasp the female, then bite down onto her nose and hold on, usually resulting in … Dolphins are yet another animal that routinely practices infanticide as a means of driving a female back into estrus. Two status reports have been prepared and recovery and management plans are in preparation. Quiet and shy, harbor seals can be seen year-round resting on rocks just offshore. Sea Otters walk awkwardly on land and even in water do not have the speed or agility of seals. Unfortunately, part of the mating process involves holding the female’s head under water which ultimately kills the seal pups (and over 10% of female otters). 10, pp. It is thought that the sea otters do this in frustration when they are unable to find a mate, so take out their frustrations on the hapless baby seal instead. ... if adult male river otters are anything at all like adult male sea otters, they should be kept away from all other animals at any cost. Learn more about staying safe around sea otters. Once extinct on our coast, Sea Otters are now expanding to reoccupy their former habitats and to resume their role in the ecology of B.C. It was sandwiched between them and unable to escape as they threw it in the air and pummeled it repeatedly. But the rest of nature? We humans aren't so great - we destroy natural resources, harm the environment, and all around act like jerks. Like other members of this family, they have very thick fur. They have the thickest fur of any living animal, with an incredible 100 000 or more hairs per square centimetre. Prominent whiskers, and the grizzled facial fur of older animals have given rise to the nickname "old man of the sea.". Their method is particularly horrible because of how it exploits the good nature of the prey. At Amchitka Island, nesting Bald Eagles regularly prey on Sea Otter pups left untended on the ocean surface. These "kelp forests" drastically change the reef environment, provide habitat for fish such as perch, greenling, and lingcod, and moderate the effect of waves. Few births have been seen, but most are thought to occur in the water (unlike River Otters, seals and sea lions, which usually give birth on land). We should learn from them. These excluded males gather in … Seals were basking on the sand not far from a small marina, quietly sleeping for the most part, but a few were occasionally swimming about not far from the sea otters. Killer whales in the north Pacific switched to eating Harbor seals, Northern fur seals, Steller sea lions, and finally Sea otters, thinning each species’ populations out one-by-one. Seals have a small coat of fur but are insulated from cold water primarily by layers of blubber. 114-116), off the coast of southern California, there are male sea otters that have attempted to have sex with, well, with harbor seals. Severe, prolonged storms can also cause death of pups, aged, or weak individuals. BC Parks controls activities in Checleset Bay by issuing research, educational, and other permits. Dolphins are total jerks. It has been discovered in recent years that margays hunt by mimicking the sound of a baby monkey in distress. Research at Checleset Bay, Vancouver Island, and elsewhere has shown that introduced Sea Otters greatly reduce the urchin populations, allowing extensive stands of kelp to develop. This is not a new phenomenon, the evidence has been around for decades. The Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska, in 1989 wiped out nearly half of the Sea Otters in the oiled area of the Sound; the much smaller Nestucca spill off Washington in 1988 killed at least one otter at Checleset Bay, 440 kilometres north of the spill site. But then, they also rape baby seals. Male otters will find a juvenile harbor seal and mount it, as if he were mating with a female otter. Why do sea otters pick baby seals? There are reports of predation by Killer Whales, sharks and sea lions. An acute sense of touch, using paws, nose, and whiskers, is very important for finding prey in crevices or bottom sediments, and during dim light. Prior to exploitation, the worldwide population of Sea Otters was estimated at between 150 000 and 300 000. The ensuing maritime fur trade, with China and Europe the major markets, resulted in fierce competition between Russian, American, British, and Spanish traders, and sparked numerous territorial disputes. Alternatively, whiskers with greater sensitivity (like those of seals) would be advantageous for benthic foraging, where the sense of touch is supreme. Animals can be GIANT JERKS. But they don't just kidnap babies. The excluded scared off males gather in areas that do not have much contact with female sea otters. The sea otter and pup rolled violently in the water for approximately 15 min, while the pup struggled to free itself from the sea otter’s grasp. A study showed that sea otters will restrain baby seals and then begin copulation; sometimes drowning it during the 105-minute-long process. This system traps a layer of air next to their skin so their skin does not get wet. As it turns out, sea otters are some of the biggest sickos of the animal kingdom. Female Navy SEALs in the Future. So whether you see an otter on land or at sea, be sure to maintain a safe distance of at least 50 yards and never feed sea otters. The sea otters have a flexible skeleton and their face is small and round. When lying face-up they move slowly by sculling the tail or paddling with one or both hindlimbs. B.C. Naturalist George Levick ventured to the South Pole with the 1910-1913 Scott Antarctic Expedition. No good deed goes unpunished, especially out in the wild. Normal speeds are 1 to 5 km an hour; the maximum about 9 km an hour. Sea otters rarely eat fish, which are a favorite food of most seals. When lying face-up they move slowly by sculling the tail or paddling with one or both hindlimbs. 's deep, steep-sided fjords may have little to offer Sea Otters in terms of food, and provide little protection from strong outflow winds. Many areas that were otter-free for decades, particularly rocks and reefs, have dense populations of sea urchins and little or no kelp (large algae), this having been eaten by the grazing urchins. 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