Sea Otters - Enhydra lutris
The Sea Otter is the smallest marine mammal in the world and is well adapted for its predominately aquatic lifestyle, possessing a strong, rudder-like tail and large hind-feet that act as flippers. They can reach 5 feet in length, weigh up to about 70 pounds and have a life span of between 10 to 20 years. The Giant River Otters in Brazil are slightly larger than the Sea Otters. Unlike other marine mammals, Sea Otters do not have blubber and instead rely on their fur to keep warm in the water. Their reddish-brown coat is the densest of any mammal, consisting of around 1,000,000 hairs per square inch. The natural oils produced by the fur provide a waterproof quality.
Highly aquatic, the Sea Otter rarely comes ashore, both resting and feeding in coastal waters. Alaskan Sea Otters are more at home out of the water than their Californian relatives, often hauling out on sandbars and ice. Otters have a high metabolic rate and these resourceful, opportunistic predators need to consume 25 percent of their body weight a day.
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