(Enhydra lutris nereis)

Sea Otters are members of the weasel family. About 5-7 million years ago ancestors of the sea otter returned to the sea to feed on the abundance of ocean life. Unlike most other sea mammals sea otters do not have a layer of blubber to keep them warm in the cold coastal waters. Otters have a thick coat of fur, one million hairs per inch of fur. Otters constantly fluff their fur to trap air for insulating them against the cold water.

Otters tend to grow white patches on their head as they grow older. Large male otters can grow to be over 4 feet in length, and weigh nearly 85 lbs. Females are much smaller weighing nearly 60 lbs. and reaching a length of 4 feet.
Sea Otters use rocks as tools to crack hard shells and other invertebrates that they feed on.
Otters are equipped with pouches or flaps of skin under each front leg that they use to store food while foraging. Otters sleep by anchoring themselves in giant kelp fronds. Otters often seek refuge among the giant kelp in stormy weather.

It is thought that the only natural predator of sea otters are sharks. The range of the California Sea Otter is concentrated along a 200 mile stretch of the central coast.

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