Monday, November 3, 2014
November 3, 2014 -BF - The Southern Sea Otter
Southern Sea Otter
Have you ever laid on your back in a swimming pool, just floating on the water? Well, the Southern Sea Otter does the very same thing just like us. Sea otters are fascinating creatures that breathes air but live in water. They eat many sea creatures and they look like a slick brown ball of fur.
Sea otters are brown and are covered in a thick, rough, waterproof layer of fur that covers up soft, short fur. A sea otter’s fur hits the world record with up to 1,000,000 hairs per square inch, having the most "Densest fur on Earth"! A sea otter has a very long body and very powerful flipper-like back paws. They have front paws that are very grip-like and strong and have very powerful jaws that can bite into food. An otter has pockets made out of fur folds that are under each front paw. An otter's whiskers can sense moving prey as its paws search the ocean floor.
Sea otters eat a lot of sea creatures and have to eat 25% of their body weight daily to keep warm in the cold waters of the Pacific. Sea otters have favorite foods just like humans and eat a variety of foods, from sea urchins to squid. They also eat small octopus and small sea snails. The otters use rocks to crack open mussels, clams, and abalone. Shrimp, crab and sea stars are some foods that otters like to eat. Their bodies can process salt water and turn it into fresh water.
Many other interesting things to know is that a sea otter can hold its breath for up to 7 minutes but normally they can get a hold of prey and come back up to the surface in about 30 seconds. The sea otter’s closest cousins are ferrets, badgers, and weasels. Many are helping are rescue and release otters for they are facing huge threats: shark attacks and habitat wreckage. Now there are about two thousand eight hundred southern sea otters left. Lots of people are tagging and tracking sea otters so they can try to help them.
A rock can be a useful tool. The way an otter uses it, it cracks shells and crabs open to get the food inside. An otter catches its food under water but always eats its food above water. You may think that an otter always stays in the water but they climb onto beaches and rocks to rest. It grooms itself just like a cat. The sea otter can float on its back because of the air in the otters fur which helps keep the otter warm. As an otter grabs its prey, it stashes the prey into its pocket and then shoots up to the surface to get air and eat.
The southern sea otter is a very exciting creature. It can hold its breath for a long time and can move to many different places fast. A mother would wrap its baby up in kelp so it won’t float away. They are very intelligent and interesting to study.