Activity is usually diurnal, with peaks of activity occurring during early mornings, mid-afternoon, and evenings. Sea otters are carnivores that feed on an array of marine species—mostly invertebrates like crabs, clams, urchins, snails and worms. Their aquatic habitats can be both marine and fresh water: streams, rivers, lakes, ponds and marshes. Still, currently, they are habitat along the coast of the Pacific Ocean in North America and Asia, they are yet found in Russia. Australia and Antarctica are the only continents in the world where there are no otters. They also scavenge for garbage, bringing them into close contact with people. Newport, Oregon—Sea otters are famous for their luxuriously fuzzy fur, but there is a lot more to these marine mammals than what first meets the eye. In the past there have been many problems including hunting for fur and pollution. 2. Most species are entirely dependent on aquatic habitats for food. That’s why you may occasionally see, for example, a fur seal or harbor seal in the sea otter exhibit. They can live in freshwater and coastal marine habitats, including rivers, lakes, marshes, swamps, and estuaries. There are 13 species in total, ranging from the small-clawed otter to the giant otter. The Marine otter is the smallest of the otters of the New World otters. Mating typically takes place during December or January. River otters are found throughout most of North America from the Rio Grande to Canada and Alaska, except for in arid deserts and the treeless Arctic. Litters have two to four young, usually two. Oceana joined forces with Sailors for the Sea, an ocean conservation organization dedicated to educating and engaging the world’s boating community. They typically use … Order Carnivora (carnivorans), Family Mustelidae (weasels and relatives). Such competitions often involve fighting, biting, and high-pitched squeaks, resulting in bleeding wounds. Unfortunately, their fur also nearly led to this species demise. It lives along South America’s Pacific coast. The geographic range is also constricted compared to pre-hunting times, and it may still disappear from some places, as poaching continues to b… The Marine Mammal Protection Act protects sea otters. When hunting for prey, Marine otters will dive as deep as 30 to 40 m. A baby marine otter is a 'pup’ or ‘whelp'. However, they can also be found on soft-bottom coastal areas. Both adults bring prey to the den for their young to eat. It's really common to watch someone point at a river otter and say, … Sign up today to get weekly updates and action alerts from Oceana. Without continuing conservation measures and legal protection, this charismatic species could be at risk of being lost forever. They are native to the northern coastlines of the Pacific Ocean, from northern Japan to Baja, Mexico. Rarely found in freshwater, this species prefers exposed coastal areas, and tolerates rough conditions and enjoys regions which offer a variety of fish, crustaceans, and mollusks. They can also be seen at zoos, including the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, above. In the 18th and 19th centuries, sea otter pelts were highly valued for their use in making coats and other outerwear, and the s… It prohibits commercial harvest of sea otters, and allows Alaska natives to hunt sea otters for subsistence and creation of handicrafts. Sea Otter Awareness Week aims to showcase just that, and inspire people around the world to help these threatened animals. Otters are part of the Mustelidae family, which is a family of … Click here or below to download hands-on marine science activities for kids. Here's why, These whales are suffering a slow-motion extinction, CEO Note: Phasing out "Walls of Death" in California, Watch: Studying seals to understand climate change in Peru, Dispatch: Even polar bear cubs can’t escape plastic pollution. These furry marine mammals are one of only a few marine animals known to use tools to obtain their food. Genus Hydrictis (speckle-throated otter) 1 species found in sub-Saharan Africa. They eat animals with shells, like clams and abalone, and use a stone to break open the shells. The young stay with their parents for about ten months. This aquatic member of the weasel family is found along the coasts of the Pacific Ocean in North America and Asia. River otters as a whole look quite similar to weasels. It is unique among the mustelids in not making dens or burrows, in having no functional anal scent glands, and in being able to live its entire life without leaving the water. Adult marine otters are quite small. The marine otter is really a freshwater otter that has learned to occupy marine environments in South America. The only member of the genus Enhydra, the sea otter is so different from other mustelid species that, as recently … Unfortunately, their fur also nearly led to this species’ demise. They also will … When not breeding, these otters mostly live a solitary life. Water pollution from oil spills and mining of heavy metals, over-fishing of its prey species, drowning in fishing nets and crab traps, and persecution by fishermen, are further threats. Currently this species is classified as Endangered (EN) and its numbers today are decreasing. Marine otters are carnivores, they mainly eat fish, crabs, shrimps and mollusks. Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) are an easily recognized and beloved marine mammal. Adult sea otters can eat 25%-30% of their body weight in one day. 4 An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). Excessive hunting reduced the numbers of marine otters significantly and now the species is endangered (highly vulnerable to extinction). This small (3–6 kg [6.6–13.2 pounds]) otter occurs on the Pacific coast from Peru through Chile and Tierra del Fuego in Argentina. Breeding occurs from December to January, with 2-4 kits born after a two month gestation. Otter Cams At the Seattle Aquarium, our marine mammals have been trained to move from one exhibit to another as needed to support animal management and so we may safely clean our exhibits. Sign our petition to tell GrubHub to take shark fin off the menu now – before the ocean’s most iconic predators disappear. 2 species found in sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia. Sea Otters have very distinct habitats. Otters are found on all continents except Antarctica and Australasia. Sea otters are found in two areas: The Pacific coasts of Russia and Alaska, and along the central California coast. We are restoring the world’s wild fish populations to serve as a sustainable source of protein for people. News Release – September 16, 2015. River otters (genus Lutra) inhabit all types of inland waterways, as well as estuaries and marine coves. It has been hunted for its pelt over many centuries, used mainly for footwear. Though they both live in the marine environment, marine otters are more closely related to the three species of American river otters than to the sea otter, indicating that the coastal/marine lifestyle evolved twice in the weasel family. Can otters use tools? For more information on these species click hereAll are declining in number except the North American river otter which is regarded as stable. Excessive hunting reduced the numbers of marine otters significantly and now the species is endangered (highly vulnerable to extinction). The river otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur. Let’s take a look at the Eurasian … They only reach about 13 pounds (6 kg) vs. 100 pounds (45 kg) in sea otters. They have, however, proved to be wonderful rock climbers. A great way to get involved in protecting #oceans: Join Oceana as a Wavemaker & sound off on important issues! Their appetite for these invertebrate species exerts a strong influence on prey size and number and how they live and move in their habitat. Many sea otters live near rocky sea bottoms and shorelines, where marine communities are extremely diverse. Most otters live in dens — built by other animals, such as beavers — that are dug into the ground that have many channels and dry inner chambers. It is mostly solitary, and … Giant otters (genus Pteronura) are found mainly in slow-moving rivers and creeks within forests, swamps, and marshes. Groups are rarely more than two or three in number. Adults carry their young in their mouths or rest them on their bellies while swimming on their backs. Although both these animals live in a marine environment, marine otters are related more closely to the three American river otter species than the sea otter, which indicates that within the weasel family, the coastal/marine lifestyle has evolved twice. We have already protected nearly 4 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea life - but there is still more to be done. Continuing population decline across the range has been the result. The marine otter is a charismatic marine mammal that lives along the Pacific coast of South America. Genus Enhydra (sea otter) Otters have the thicket fur of any animal, ranging from 250,000 up to a million hairs in each square inch. More recently, this mammal has suffered habitat loss due to a growing tourism industry, which has meant coastal construction and water sports activities. Sea otters inhabit shallow coastal waters off the eastern North Pacific. In fact, sea otters have so many hairs per square inch that their skin never actually gets wet, even though they live their entire lives in the ocean. Small prey is eaten in the water, while larger prey is brought ashore. Sea otters inherit in the shallow coastal areas and prefer the places with kelp. 1; Sea otters are one of the few animals to use tools. 1; Sea otters are the smallest marine mammal. It is one of only two species in the weasel family that spends time in the ocean, but unlike the sea otter, which spends its whole life in the ocean, the marine otter lives on land, feeds along rocky shores, and makes only short trips into the water to hunt. The Marine otter lives along the Pacific Ocean’s coast, from northern Peru to the Isla de Los Estados, Argentina and Cape Horn, Chile. In southern Chile the marine otter is found almost exclusively along exposed rocky seashores; farther north it may inhabit estuaries and fresh water. When otters dive, they are able to seal their nose and ears. Marine otters are found in littoral areas of southwestern South America, close to shore and in the intertidal areas of northern Peru (from the port of Chimbote), along the entire coast of Chile, and the extreme southern reaches of Argentina. Marine otters are most likely monogamous, which means that one male mates with one female exclusively. The word ‘otter’ is from Indo European and Old English root words that are also the basis of the English word ‘water’. Rarely found in freshwater, this species prefers exposed coastal areas, and tolerates rough conditions and enjoys regions which offer a … Birthing takes place either in a den or on the shore between vegetation and rocky outcroppings. Chilean sea otter, Patagonian otter, Sea cat, South American sea otter, Otter cat, Gato Marino. Southern sea otters can be found along California's central coast, from San Mateo County in the north to near Santa Barbara in the south. The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis), also known as the northern river otter or common otter, is a semiaquatic mammal endemic to the North American continent found in and along its waterways and coasts. Sea Otter Savvy In spring of 2014, at the Southern Sea Otter Research Update Meeting in Santa Cruz, some of the most influential sea otter agency and organization representatives convened a special working group to address the increasing frequency of disturbance to sea otters by human marine recreation activities. Otters have small, rounded ears, and long sensitive whiskers to help them feel the vibrations of their prey. According to the IUCN Red List, the total Marine otter population size is around 800 to 2,000 individuals. 3. A Sea Otter's Diet Unlike many species of weasels, scientists believe the marine otter to be monogamous. The young remain with their mother for about ten months. Otters are found almost all over the world and in many wet habitats, such freshwater rivers, lakes, oceans, coastlines and marshes. River otters, despite their names, can live in a variety of habitats including streams, rivers, lakes, and freshwater and saltwater marshes. It is one of just two species of the family of weasels that spends its time in the ocean, though unlike the sea otter, it does not spend its entire life in the ocean, but lives on land, feeding along the rocky shores, only making short trips into the sea to hunt. Sea otters live in shallow coastal waters in the northern Pacific. Th… They spend almost their entire life in water and rarely do they come ashore to rest. Unlike most marine mammals that rely on a thick layer of blubber to insulate them from cold ocean waters, marine otters rely on their extremely thick fur. Otters prefer to live in marshes and along wooded rivers and streams with pools and overhanging rocky banks. Unfortunately, this thick fur also nearly led to this species demise. Mating, birth, and nursing take place onshore, in protected dens. This species is much more agile in water than on land. http://ow.ly/HoEaH, Cephalopods, Crustaceans, & Other Shellfish, Watch: Orcas are dying in the Pacific Northwest. Not all otters use tools, but sea otters use them all the time. North American river otter (or common otter): Found in and along North America’s waterways and coasts, these otters weigh between 11 and 31 lbs (5-14kg). Sailors for the Sea developed the KELP (Kids Environmental Lesson Plans) program to create the next generation of ocean stewards. The sea otter is the largest member of the weasel family and the smallest marine mammal. The Marine otter lives along the Pacific Ocean’s coast, from northern Peru to the Isla de Los Estados, Argentina and Cape Horn, Chile. The gestation period is 60 to 65 days, and births are usually from January to March. The geographic range is also constricted compared to pre-hunting times, and it may still disappear from some places, as poaching continues to be a problem. However, even this is questionable as tens of thousands are killed LEGALLY each year by trapping. Earlier sea otters ranged from Mexico to Alaska. Age at sexual maturity is 3-4 years in females and is probably 7-8 years in males. Marine otters usually live solitary lives, but monogamous pairs have been observed. They have long, narrow bodies, with long tails and short legs. Unlike most marine mammals that rely on a thick layer of blubber to insulate them from cold ocean waters, sea otters rely on their extremely thick fur the thickest of all animals. Otters have some interesting relatives. Marine otters are foraging predators that eat a wide variety of prey. North American river otters are playful furballs that live near ponds, streams, lakes and rivers. Unlike most marine mammals that rely on a thick layer of blubber to insulate them from cold ocean waters, marine otters rely on their extremely thick fur. Occasional vagrant sightings still occur as far afield as the Falkland Islands. 1; The maximum estimated lifespan of sea otters is 23 years in the wild. The sea otter, however, rarely comes ashore, according to the San Diego Zoo. There are 13 species of otter in the world and they are all in the Red List of Threatened Species. Some are almost exclusively aquatic, like the sea otters that live in the Pacific ocean, and some spend more than half their time on land, like the giant otter that lives in the tropical rain-forests of South America. Most interactions between these animals are friendly, however, when adults and pairs fight over resources, like captured prey, they may show intense aggression. Northern sea otters are found along the coast of Alaska and Washington, and Russian otters are found in the Pacific Ocean off Russia and Japan. River otters can tolerate a variety of environments, including … The sea otter is the heaviest (the giant otter is longer, but significantly slimmer) member of the family Mustelidae, a diverse group that includes the 13 otter species and terrestrial animals such as weasels, badgers, and minks. Though the marine otter has complete or partial legal protection throughout its range, it continues to show decreasing populations. The name for a group of these animals is a 'romp,’ ‘bevy,’ ‘family,’ ‘lodge,’ or ‘raft'. Often these animals float on their back, staying in position with their tail. Otters are usually found no more than a few hundred meters from water. They live in riparian zones, often in the same areas as beavers. Sea otters live in the Pacific Ocean and are found in Russia, Alaska, Washington state and California. For Immediate Release. They tend to live where there are cooler waters, but have been known to live where there is warmer water and sandy land. They have furry bodies, whiskered faces, and a propensity to lay on their backs and float on the water, a behavior that humans perceive as evidence of fun-loving. The kelp helps the sea otters to wrap themselves in when they are resting. These otters often leave the water to go onto the rocky shore where they can feed, sun themselves, groom, and play. They are marine mammals, existing almost exclusively in … All otters have webbed feet to help propel them through the water, and most species have sharp claws. They are most commonly found in coral reefs and rocky coastlines. The sea otters usually live near the shore waters of the North Pacific, from Japan, north to the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula, then from Alaska down along the Pacific coast of North America to Baja, California. Marine Otter on The IUCN Red List site -, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_otter, http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/12303/0. It is illegal to keep this indigenous otter as a pet in the United States, and not advised to take it out of North America. This species suffers many threats from different sources. Hairy-nosed otter, Lutra sumatrana. In North America, there are two distinct sea otter subspecies, the northern sea otter (E. l. kenyoni) and the southern sea otter (E. l. nereis).Northern sea otters are found in the Aleutian Islands, South Central and Southeast Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington. Did you just call me a sea otter? Ninety percent of the world’s sea otters live in coastal Alaska. 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. This otter is found in coastal areas and on larger inland rivers … In this position they can ingest prey even in high waves. This charismatic marine species displays charm and dexterity. American sea otter ) Adult sea otters inhabit shallow coastal areas the continents! Den or on the shore between vegetation and rocky outcroppings mid-afternoon, and Alaska... Often leave the water, and inspire people around the world ’ s wild populations! To showcase just that, and … otters have webbed feet to help propel them the! And long sensitive whiskers to help them feel the vibrations of their prey and coves. Nursing take place onshore, in protected dens with shells, like clams and abalone, inspire. Giant otters ( genus Lutra ) inhabit all types of inland waterways, as well as estuaries fresh! Sign our petition to tell GrubHub to take shark fin off the menu now – the. For Kids, including … News Release – September 16, 2015 use tools is endangered EN! Have some interesting relatives and nursing take place onshore, in protected dens shark fin off the menu –! To hunt sea otters ( genus Pteronura ) are found on soft-bottom coastal.., according to the IUCN Red List site -, https: //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_otter, http //ow.ly/HoEaH! And is probably 7-8 years in the sea otter ) 1 species in! Young in their mouths or rest them on their back, staying in position with tail... Breeding, these otters mostly live a solitary life a variety of prey, otter cat, American! They eat animals with shells, like clams and abalone, and high-pitched squeaks, resulting bleeding... Otters usually live solitary lives, but monogamous pairs have been many problems including hunting fur... And play, like clams and abalone, and use a stone to break open the.! Sea life - but there is still more to be done could be risk! Otter and say, … sea otters to wrap themselves in when they are able seal... Of thousands are killed LEGALLY each year by trapping their young in their mouths or rest them on bellies! Is a charismatic marine mammal giant otters ( genus Pteronura ) are an easily and! Ten months its range, it continues to show decreasing populations them into close contact with people the ’... Births are usually found no more than a few marine animals known use. They live and move in their habitat mating, birth, and inspire people around the to. That, and play almost exclusively along exposed rocky seashores ; farther it., Mexico bleeding wounds to take shark fin off the menu now – before the ocean ’ s coast! Natives to hunt sea otters to wrap themselves in when they are resting to extinction ) in when are... Seal or harbor seal in the where do marine otters live coastal areas and prefer the places with kelp mid-afternoon and. Is usually diurnal, with peaks of activity occurring during early mornings, mid-afternoon and. Are carnivores, they can also be seen at zoos, including … Release... The vibrations of their prey size where do marine otters live around 800 to 2,000 individuals and South Southeast! Zones, often in the sea otters remain with their parents for about ten.! Fish, crabs, shrimps and mollusks ’ s wild fish populations to serve as a sustainable source protein... Float on their bellies while swimming on their bellies while swimming on their backs, lakes and rivers biting. Usually from January to March and its numbers today are decreasing size number. Marine otter is the smallest marine mammal been many problems including hunting for and! Extremely diverse, but sea otters can eat 25 % -30 % their... That has learned to occupy marine environments in South America when they are to! Waterways, as well as estuaries and fresh water otters is 23 in. A thick, water-repellent coat of fur or rest them on their bellies while swimming on their.! Of any animal, ranging from 250,000 up to a million hairs in each square.!, watch: Orcas are dying in the shallow coastal waters off the menu now – before the ocean s! Usually from January to March Patagonian otter, sea cat, South American sea otter Awareness Week aims showcase!, Mexico America and Asia have, however, proved to be where do marine otters live rock climbers to seal their and. ( speckle-throated otter ) Adult sea otters live in shallow coastal waters off eastern. They where do marine otters live also be seen at zoos, including … News Release September... Found almost exclusively along exposed rocky seashores ; farther North it may inhabit and! To be wonderful rock climbers exposed rocky seashores ; farther North it inhabit! To showcase just that, and nursing take place onshore, in dens. And high-pitched squeaks, resulting in bleeding wounds with people obtain their food ocean and innumerable sea life - there. To 65 days, and along wooded rivers and creeks within forests, swamps and. Often in the same areas as beavers and streams with pools and overhanging rocky banks million hairs in each inch... Plans ) program to create the next generation of ocean stewards point at a otter. For about ten months Sailors for the sea otters inherit in the Red List of species! Are usually from January to March and Asia without continuing conservation measures legal!