Wildlife Wednesday: Sea Otter

Wildlife Wednesday: Sea Otter

This Wildlife Wednesday, learn about the sea otter – everyone’s favourite fun-loving marine mammal.

This Wildlife Wednesday, learn about the sea otter—everyone’s favourite fun-loving marine mammal.

Habitat: Pacific Ocean

Sea otter trivia

  • Many of us assume that mammals are land-dwelling creatures, but sea otters, like whales, are mammals that eat, sleep, breed, and even play in the water.  And they’re perfectly suited for life in the sea, equipped with webbed feet and a slick waterproof coat. They even have specialized ears and noses that close in the water.
  • Their unique coats require a lot of effort to keep clean, so they are well known for their painstaking grooming habits.
  • The iconic image of a sea otter is that of one lying on its back in the water, looking as relaxed and carefree as we do floating on an inflatable chair in the backyard pool. This is indeed the sea otter’s favourite pose, and they’re even known to sleep in that position.
  • Sea otters dine on shellfish, which means that have to crack open the shells of mussels and clams. They do this by smashing the shell against a rock, and then feasting on the seafood while—you guessed it—lying on their backs, floating in the water.
  • One of the things that makes sea otters so beloved by humans is their cuteness. Case in point: they have been known to sleep holding paws so they don’t drift away from each other. Cute!

Why we need them
Sea otters have been dubbed the “keystone species” in their ecosystem, meaning that they affect many other species and keep the delicate network in check.

Why they’re threatened and what you can do to help
Sea otters have been hunted by humans for their thick, waterproof coat, and at one point only about 1,000 to 2,000 were left. That number has increased dramatically, but they are still classified as endangered.

Oil spills are a particular threat to sea otters, as their coat needs to be kept meticulously clean for them to stay warm and dry. When oil coats their fur, they often die from hypothermia or complications after ingesting the oil in an effort to clean themselves. Other threats include potential fisheries interactions (such as being caught in nets) and disease.

To help sea otters, learn more about oil spills and how interconnected marine ecosystems are, and consider checking out the World Wildlife Fund Canada for more information on how to take action.

Related Stories


Caught in the Middle

Caught in the MiddleHelp for the Sandwich Generation- Twenty million American adults are caring for aging parents at the same time they\'re raising young children. Known as the Sandwich Generation, the

The Importance of Senior Fitness

The Importance of Senior Fitness- According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), exercise and physical activity are some of the best things older adults can do to stay healthy. Even moderate ex

Grandparent Getaways

Grandparent GetawaysTrips to take with your grandchildren- \"No parents allowed.\" It\'s not a sign on a kid-only clubhouse, it\'s the first rule of travel for memory-making grandparent/grandchild vacatio

Comfortably Aging in Place

Comfortably Aging in PlaceHaving lived in the same ranch house for 55 years, John Heck’s grandparents wanted to make any and all necessary accommodations to allow them to peacefully age in place. Usin

Aging with Vitality, Grace and Confidence

Aging with Vitality, Grace and ConfidenceIt’s one of the great ironies of life: Your reward for surviving the tumultuous teen years, establishing a career and nurturing a family culminates in dry skin

3 Ways Seniors Can Control Prescription Costs

3 Ways Seniors Can Control Prescription CostsFor 55 million Americans enrolled in Medicare, the New Year means any new Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plans, or any changes to your existing pl

Popular Categories