southern sea otter
 When foraging, she leaves her pup floating on the water, sometimes wrapped in kelp to keep it from floating away; if the pup is not sleeping, it cries loudly until she returns. , Unlike most other marine mammals, the sea otter has no blubber and relies on its exceptionally thick fur to keep warm. It can chew and swallow small mussels with their shells, whereas large mussel shells may be twisted apart.  Foraging resumes for a few hours in the afternoon and subsides before sunset, and a third foraging period may occur around midnight. Trophic Level:Omnivore. These sea otter may have dispersed from San Nicolas Island, which is 300 kilometres (190 mi) away, as individuals have been recorded traversing distances of over 800 kilometres (500 mi).  Milo, the darker one, died of lymphoma in January 2012, species of marine mammal from the northern and eastern coasts of the North Pacific Ocean, At least one female is known to have died from an infected nose. In, Treaty for the Preservation and Protection of Fur Seals, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, tribes on the Pacific coast of North America, "Multigene phylogeny of the Mustelidae: resolving relationships, tempo and biogeographic history of a mammalian adaptive radiation", "Multigene phylogeny of the Mustelidae: Resolving relationships, tempo and biogeographic history of a mammalian adaptive radiation", "Building large trees by combining phylogenetic information: a complete phylogeny of the extant Carnivora (Mammalia)", "Washington State Periodic Status Review for the Sea Otter", "Do differences in skull morphology and bite performance explain dietary specialization in sea otters?  In comparison to cetaceans, sirenians, and pinnipeds, which entered the water approximately 50, 40, and 20 million years ago, respectively, the sea otter is a relative newcomer to a marine existence. Russia was also exploring the far northern Pacific at this time, and sent Vitus Bering to map the Arctic coast and find routes from Siberia to North America.  However, after engaging in a period of public commentary in 2005, the Fish and Wildlife Service failed to release a formal decision on the issue.  Pups born to experienced mothers have the highest survival rates.  Individuals generally occupy a home range a few kilometres long, and remain there year-round. In fact, at 850,000 to 1 million hairs per square inch, sea otters have the thickest fur of any mammal.  In 1741, on his second North Pacific voyage, Bering was shipwrecked off Bering Island in the Commander Islands, where he and many of his crew died. Our Behind the Seas Highlight Tour offer a backstage look at our most popular exhibits. , Long, highly sensitive whiskers and front paws help the sea otter find prey by touch when waters are dark or murky. These are the first documented sightings of otters this far south in 30 years. It ranges from two to three months in southern sea otters and can last as long as eight months in northern sea otters.  Kelp forests are extremely productive ecosystems. Currently, the most stable and secure part of the sea otter's range is Russia. It is believed that a sea otter will wrap itself with kelp before sleeping at the surface to keep itself from drifting away. ", Archeological Research Issues for the Point Reyes National Seashore – Golden Gate National Recreation Area, "Sea Otter Show Striking Variability in Diets And Feeding Strategies", "U.S. During the mating season, the male bites the snout of the female in a display of courting behavior. In these cultures, many of which have strongly animist traditions full of legends and stories in which many aspects of the natural world are associated with spirits, the sea otter was considered particularly kin to humans. , The debate is complicated because sea otters have sometimes been held responsible for declines of shellfish stocks that were more likely caused by overfishing, disease, pollution, and seismic activity. Consequently, sexually mature females can be distinguished by bloody or scarred nose regions.  Other observations indicate the sea otter's sense of sight is useful above and below the water, although not as good as that of seals. Also known as the southern sea otter, this subspecies of otter is found from California to Washington with other subspecies found in Alaska, Canada, Russia, and Japan. , The species exhibits a variety of vocal behaviors. The Russians initially traded with the Aleuts inhabitants of these islands for otter pelts, but later enslaved the Aleuts, taking women and children hostage and torturing and killing Aleut men to force them to hunt. In studies performed at Amchitka Island in the 1960s, where the sea otter population was at carrying capacity, 50% of food found in sea otter stomachs was fish. Cyanobacteria are found in stagnant freshwater enriched with nitrogen and phosphorus from septic tank and agricultural fertilizer runoff, and may be flushed into the ocean when streamflows are high in the rainy season.  Mothers have been observed to lick and fluff a newborn for hours; after grooming, the pup's fur retains so much air, the pup floats like a cork and cannot dive. The nostrils and small ears can close.  The teeth and bones are sometimes stained purple as a result of ingesting sea urchins. Females raft with their pups and other females. , Sea otters live in coastal waters 15 to 23 metres (50 to 75 ft) deep, and usually stay within a kilometre (⅔ mi) of the shore. Sea otters spend a majority of their day eating, sleeping, and grooming.  A 2007 Californian study demonstrated, in areas where food was relatively scarce, a wider variety of prey was consumed.  By 2004, sea otters had repopulated all of their former habitat in these areas, with an estimated total population of about 27,000.  It is the only marine mammal that catches fish with its forepaws rather than with its teeth. The tail is short in comparison to those of other otters. Sea otter pelts were given in potlatches to mark coming-of-age ceremonies, weddings, and funerals. The Russians found the sea otter far more valuable than the sable skins that had driven and paid for most of their expansion across Siberia.  Another group of twenty swam 74 miles (119 km) north to San Miguel Island, where they were captured and removed.  An estimated 1,200 sea otters live within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and more than 500 live within the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Between 1803 and 1846, 72 American ships were involved in the otter hunt in California, harvesting an estimated 40,000 skins and tails, compared to only 13 ships of the Russian-American Company, which reported 5,696 otter skins taken between 1806 and 1846. The extinct sea mink of northeastern North America is another mustelid that had adapted to a marine environment. They swim belly-up, moving through the water at 3-5 miles an hour with their webbed hind feet. Known for their agility and playful social behavior, our dolphins are a must-see at Georgia Aquarium! As word spread, people from all over Europe and North America began to arrive in the Pacific Northwest to trade for sea otter furs. Southern sea otter is not a social animal as are other otter species and has been known to live alone.  The Seattle Aquarium became the first institution to raise sea otters from conception to adulthood with the birth of Tichuk in 1979, followed by three more pups in the early 1980s.  Its hearing is neither particularly acute nor poor. , The individuals within a particular area often differ in their foraging methods and prey types, and tend to follow the same patterns as their mothers.  Juveniles are typically independent at six to eight months, but a mother may be forced to abandon a pup if she cannot find enough food for it; at the other extreme, a pup may nurse until it is almost adult size. Historically, Sea Otters occurred across the North Pacific Rim, ranging from Hokkaido, Japan, through the Kuril Islands, the Kamchatka Peninsula, the Commander Islands, the Aleutian Islands, peninsular and south coastal Alaska and south to Baja California, Mexico (Kenyon 1969). : 1.4-2.3kg 2017 the US Geological Survey found a 3 % drop in the wild develop... Population recovery remain typically prohibited, except on the holdfast or base of young kelp, which carnivorans... For food and fur adventure behind-the-scenes of the San Nicolas sea otters off central California.... Once numerous in San Francisco Bay Act and “ depleted ” under the water at 3-5 miles an hour their! Animals were consistent with California, great white shark Kutune Shirka, tells the of... To those of other otters sea otter are Appendix II or Washington social. 2007 Californian study demonstrated, in check and bones are sometimes stained purple as a result of sea! 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