Common Name: Sea Otter

Scientific Name: Enhydra lutris

 

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivoria

Family: Mustelidae

Genus: Enhydra

Species: E. lutris

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The common name of an Enhydra Lutris is sea otter. They are found in the coastal waters of California, Western Alaska, and Kurile Islands, north of Japan. They grow up to 5ft. long and weigh up to 100lbs. Sea otters mature at 3 years of age. Mating may happen all year round. Their diet has a few varieties of animals such as crabs, fish, and octopus.

 

These animals spend very little time ashore. They have thick, glossy, and very dark fur. They also have a creamy white spot from their head to their throat and to their chest. Their thick fur provides good insulation and prevents heat loss. This animal spends 10% cleaning and grooming its fur. If the fur gets polluted with oil, the sea otter can die from hypothermia.

 

Sea otters rarely go more than a mile off shore. Instead of living on land they live in kelp beds in small herds. They are the only animals to eat sea urchins that are feeders on the kelp. When sea otters sleep, they wrap themselves in kelp to prevent them from drifting. Some sea otters sleep on land to protect them from killer whales.

 

They sleep and swim on their backs and only swim on their bellies when they are trying to get away from predators. Early in the morning and the evening they feed. They are capable of diving down to 300ft. and being able to hold their breath for five minutes. They usually dive down to 100ft. to search for food and staying in the water for 30-40 seconds.

 

The sea otter needs to be conserved to protect from extinction. If the government wasn’t protecting sea otters they would become extinct. The population keeps rising but it’s rising slowly. Sea otters may never reoccupy its full range, but at least there are sea otters still alive.

 

Author: Aaron T.

Published: 02/2009