Sea otters are very vulnerable to oil spills from coastal tankers, which is a primary human related reason why the otters are listed. That is … (Merriam, 1904) But due to the fur trade, their numbers plummeted in the early 1900s. The sea otters have a flexible skeleton and their face is small and round. Sea otters have been found to play a pivotal role in the habitat and marine life that inhabit a kelp forest. M O L L U S K S. Habitat: Coasts of the Northern & Eastern North Pacific Ocean. As top predators, sea otters are critical to maintaining the balance of nearshore ecosystems, such as kelp forests, embayments and estuaries. Sea otters eat about 25% of their weight every day, and is arguably the number one cause in sea otter deaths, when they cannot forage enough food… Common name: Southern or California sea otter The otter's habitat is in danger, though. Because of their voracious appetite, they are occasionally accused of driving their prey species into decline by fishermen who compete for the same prey species. Most Sea Otter "raft" in kelp beds with other otters. Otters are usually found no more than a few hundred meters from water. Most species are entirely dependent on aquatic habitats for food. Home. Class: Mammalia Not all otters use tools, but sea otters use them all the time. Our responsibility is management of these important natural resources in Ventura, Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz, and Santa Barbara Counties. They eat 40 plus different types of species such as clams, urchins, and snails. The southern sea otter also spends a lot of their time in estuaries. The sea otter is one of the few animals to use tools. Still, they remain constrained to a geographically small area on the central coast of California relative to their former coast-wide range, with population numbers far below those of the estimated optimal sustainable population size. After eating, they wash themselves in the ocean, cleaning their coat with their teeth and paws. IUCN Red List Status Endangered. Currently the southern sea otter population is estimated at just above 3,000 animals. This predator-prey relationship enhances kelp production and it is a widely accepted ecological concept that the more diverse and complex an ecosystem, the more stable the ecosystem. Adult males weigh on average 64 lbs. The sea otter's tail at the base is very plump and as it reaches the tip flattens, this helps the sea otter swim at a quick pace under water. They thrive in warm, coastal waters and usually remain within a kilometer from the shore. 4. Sea otter counts are conducted annually by the U.S. Geological Survey. Choose from high quality, high res, hd, widescreen, and other options. http://www/werc/usgs.gov/ProjectSubWebPage.aspx?SubWebPageID+1&ProjectID=, Sign in|Recent Site Activity|Report Abuse|Print Page|Powered By Google Sites. Sea otters feed on a wide variety of marine invertebrates including clams, mussels, sea urchins, marine snails, crabs, and abalone. There is no surrogacy program for northern sea otters at this time at all, anywhere in the world. The southern sea otter was widely believed to be extinct due to the expansive fur trade of the 18th and 19th centuries, which reduced the global population, once 150,000 to 300,000, to roughly 2,000 — a number at which the species seemed unlikely to survive. Sea otters use rocks to remove prey from their shells. They eat 40 plus different types of species such as clams, urchins, and snails. Habitat: The Southern Sea Otter can be found in Russia, Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, California, and Oregan. An umbrella species is a species whose conservation confers protection to a large number of naturally co-occurring species (Roberge and Angelstam, 2003). Northern sea otters are slightly larger than Californian otters. Sea otters are known to carry rocks when they dive, to increase their weight when diving, as well as to crack open shells and protective armor, so they can eat the meat inside the shellfish. Sea otter tends to be relatively sedentary in comparison to other marine mammals and eat a wide variety of prey species that are filter feeders. A top layer of fur is long, waterproof hairs that keep the layer of underfur dry which helps with thermoregulation of the otter’s body temperature by keeping cold water away from their skin. Th… The sea otter’s teeth are adapted for crushing these prey items with their molars being broad and flat and canines rounded and blunt. 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