If you can tell me right now, with a straight face, that you are not a fan of otters, do me a favour and find yourself the nearest dumpster and clamber up inside, head first. Please suppress any impulse to remove oneself from said dumpster until your perception of otters has changed, or, until you’ve acknowledged the fact that no good person can dislike otters in principle.
In the slim chance that incredibly subtle introduction didn’t convey today’s topic to you, we’re discussing otters in all their glory, and we are doing so with open arms. Personally, I reject the possibility that there are people in this world who don’t love these adorable little guys, and if such a grotesque happening does, in fact, exist, I’m hoping this post will change your mind.
This information comes from www.doi.gov.
“1. Forget everything you thought you knew about otter species. Thirteen different species exist around the globe. The U.S. is home to two species: the sea otter and the North American river otter. River otters are much smaller — averaging 10-30 pounds — with a cylindrical body and small head. Sea otters weigh more — around 45-90 pounds — with large, furry faces.
2. Otters have some interesting relatives. Otters are part of the Mustelidae family, which is a family of carnivorous mammals that includes skunks, weasels, wolverines, and badgers. The sea otter is the largest member of the weasel family, yet the smallest marine mammal in North America.
3. Most sea otters call Alaska home. Approximately 90 percent of the world’s sea otters live in coastal Alaska. Many live in the waters surrounding public lands including Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, Kenai Fjords National Park, and Glacier Bay National Park. Southern sea otters range along the mainland coastline of California from San Mateo County to Santa Barbara County, and San Nicolas Island.
4. U.S. and international law protects threatened sea otters. Hunted to the edge of extinction by fur traders in the 18th and 19th centuries, the few remaining sea otters (about 2,000 scattered in remnant colonies throughout the North Pacific rim) were first protected by the International Fur Seal Treaty in 1911. Sea otters in the United States received additional protections with the passage of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act in the 1970s.
5. Sea otters eat 25 percent of their body weight in food every day. Sea otters’ diets include sea urchins, crabs, mussels, and clams, which they’re known to crack open with a rock and eat while floating in the water. To find food, sea otters may occasionally dive as deep as 250 feet and will use their sensitive whiskers to locate small prey inside crevices or their strong forepaws to dig for clams.
6. Sea otters have the thickest fur of any animal. Their fur contains between 600,000 to 1,000,000 hair follicles per square inch. Unlike most other marine mammals, otters lack a blubber layer. Instead, they depend on their dense, water-resistant fur to provide insulation. To keep warm, sea otters spend a large portion of their days grooming and conditioning their fur. This traps air and heat next to their skin,” the web page explains.
Check back tomorrow for more knowledge about these incredible creatures.
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