In honor of Sea Otter Awareness Week (SOAW), which runs from 20 September to 26 September 2015, we thought it seemed fitting to dedicate a post to our beloved sea otter.
To get us started, we are going to share some facts from SeaOtters.org about sea otters that caught our attention:
- “Sea otters play a critical role in the marine ecosystem as a keystone species. They promote a healthy kelp forest that, in turn, supports thousands of organisms.
- Sea otters are the top predator in their ecosystem.
- Sea otters are indicator or sentinel species, meaning they reflect the condition of the environment they live in, and they are dying of a tremendous amount of disease that has land-based connections. As humans and sea otters eat many of the same seafood items, high rates of sea otter disease may be a warning for both human and marine ecosystem health.
- [Sea otters are the] smallest marine mammal in northern hemisphere.”
And, here’s a look into the history of sea otters, at least in regards to how their population has declined in the last several hundred years:
“In the early 1700’s, before wide-scale hunting began, the sea otters worldwide range was continuous from Japan to Baja California and the population was estimated at 300,000, possibly with a million or more, with approximately 16,000 to 20,000 along California’s coast.”
“Sea otters are now only found off the coast of Japan, Russia, Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and California.”
Yeah, that’s quite a difference…
Plus, with the link to humans, we’d say our sea otters deserve some extra attention!
Now, let’s take a look at some sea otters…
According to the National Wildlife Federation, it’s the dense fur of sea otters that keep them warm, unlike dolphins and whales that have layers of fat.
Sea otters have so much fur they have “up to a million hairs per square inch! We have only about 100,000 hairs on our whole head.”
Additionally, sea otters spend “two to three hours each day grooming their fur” – clean and fluffy fur helps to keep them warm after all.
If you thought sea otters couldn’t get anymore fun, well, we have one more for you…
There are times sea otters will hold hands to stay together, which is often referred to as rafting.
For more information on sea otters, SOAW and/or what you can do to help the animals, you can check out:
- Friends of the Sea Otters at SeaOtters.org
- National Wildlife Federation at NWF.org
- Sea Otter Awareness Week at SeaOtterWeek.org
- And, Monterey Bay Aquarium who even have an Otter Cam!
In the interim, be sure to help spread the message of sea otters by using the hashtag #SeaOtterAwarenessWeek.
Oh how we love our furry friends…