Sea otters can spend their entire life in water. Most species are entirely dependent on aquatic habitats for food. Not all otters use tools, but sea otters use them all the time. California kelp forests have some of the highest primary productivity rates (conversion of sunlight to living material) of any naturally occurring ecosystem on earth and are the most diverse ecosystem of the temperate latitudes on earth. The population is most secure in Russia. Southern Sea Otter . 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. Research has shown that up to 60 percent of southern sea otter mortality is due to infectious diseases which are attributed to known land-sea linkages. Habitat: The Southern Sea Otter can be found in Russia, Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, California, and Oregan. 4. As shown by our study, sea otters can colonize and persist in southern California habitats at densities comparable to central California, and their affinity for specific habitat features makes it possible to predict their future distribution. The Ventura FWO website is a portal that provides information and guidance for the conservation, protection, and enhancement of fish, wildlife and plants, and their habitats. Habitat: The Southern Sea Otter can be found in Russia, Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, California, and Oregan. Sea otters feed on a wide variety of marine invertebrates including clams, mussels, sea urchins, marine snails, crabs, and abalone. Historical Home Range – California to Baja, CA, Dedicated to Protecting the California Sea Otter, sea otters may be responsible for the relatively large size of abalones. California’s southern sea otter has been listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act since 1977. They are usually seen in rocky marine habitats where there is a high abundance of kelp canopy and typically in water depths about 20 m. Kelp canopy is an important habitat component used for resting and foraging. Females otters nature at 3 years of age and males at age 5. Otters are usually found no more than a few hundred meters from water. They also have pockets of loose skin under each foreleg for storing their tools and to hold prey it has found on the seafloor. In fact, sea otters do not cause local extinction of species. (2-2.3 kg). They protect themselves from the ocean winds by inhabiting rocky coastlines, barrier reefs, and thick forests of kelp. The otter's habitat is in danger, though. Subspecies: nereis A southern sea otter in it's habitat with one of the many other organisms living near it. Such as, when a human wants to build a house near the coast because he or she is a fisherman. They are usually seen in rocky marine habitats where there is a high abundance of kelp canopy and typically in water depths about 20 m. Kelp canopy is an important habitat component used for resting and foraging. Habitat destruction may takes many form. An umbrella species is a species whose conservation confers protection to a large number of naturally co-occurring species (Roberge and Angelstam, 2003). Southern Sea Otters once filled the waters off the Oregon coast, but due to the popularity of their fur for human clothing, they were hunted to extinction in the state by the early twentieth century. When pups are born they are about 2 feet (0.6 m) long and weigh 4-5 lbs. Sea otters are the textbook example of a “keystone” species and have a considerable impact on the structure and complexity of their nearshore ecological community. . The current range extends along the California coast from Half Moon Bay in the north to Santa Barbara in the south, though individuals are occasionally seen outside these limits. These underwater gardens are filled with the otter’s prey, including sea urchins, clams, crabs and abalone. Sea Otter’s tails are smaller than other otters to reduce surface area. Abalone numbers are often high within the sea otters range. Rather than driving their extinction, sea otters may be responsible for the relatively large size of abalones in California, in comparison with other parts of the world. Newborn pups cannot sink nor can they dive. They do most of their foraging within about half a mile of shore. The sea otter is one of the few animals to use tools. Otter skeleton sketch based on 1947 illustration. Sea otter counts are conducted annually by the U.S. Geological Survey. M O L L U S K S. Habitat: Coasts of the Northern & Eastern North Pacific Ocean. There is also a secondary pupping peak in late summer to early fall which may be associated with pup mortality during the winter months. Oil spills. Now, the only indigenous population of Southern Sea Otters resides along the coast of central California. Class: Mammalia Enhydra lutris nereis The sea otter has made many adaptations to survive better in its habitat. That is one of the reasons why they are endangered. From evidence found in the fossil record, sea otters and their ancestors have been a component of California’s coastal marine environment for the past five million years. Identify important sea otter resting and foraging areas adjacent to manmade structures 3. A 2014 study found that sea otters along the southern California coast were almost 10 times more likely to be located within kelp habitat than outside, while outside kelp beds sea otter numbers declined with distance from the edge of kelp canopies. Sea otters increase biodiversity and primary productivity of the nearshore environment by controlling populations of grazers, sea urchins in particular, which feed on kelp. Under their arms, Sea otters have built in pockets. Otters use tools like rocks and sometimes soda cans. As southern sea otter population and range expanded in the first half of the 20th century, otters came into contact with lucrative abalone populations in Southern California, with commercial fishers attributing the decline in abalone populations to the reemergent otters (Carswell et al., 2015). Northern sea otters are slightly larger than Californian otters. The sea otter’s feet are webbed which are good for picking up speed in the water. It sometimes is considered a subspecies of Lontra canadensis.The southern river otter is listed as endangered, due to illegal hunting, water pollution, and habitat loss http://www/werc/usgs.gov/ProjectSubWebPage.aspx?SubWebPageID+1&ProjectID=, Sign in|Recent Site Activity|Report Abuse|Print Page|Powered By Google Sites. A Web site of the U.S. The gestation period is about 6 months. An “indicator” species is an organism that is relatively sedentary and tends to bio-magnify and/or be sensitive to contaminants. Humans have 100,000 pieces in total on their head, while otters have up to one million hairs per square inch. Sea otters inhabit shallow coastal areas and prefer places with kelp. Habitat If you look along California’s coast, starting from Half Moon Bay to Coal Oil Point by Santa Barbra, you can find these magnificent creatures. Sea otters naturally thrive in nearshore habitats. They are usually seen in rocky marine habitats where there is a high abundance of kelp canopy and typically in water depths about 20 m. Kelp canopy is an important habitat component used for resting and foraging. Habitat: The Southern Sea Otter can be found in Russia, Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, California, and Oregan. Sea Otters spend most of their life at sea, but will come ashore in bad weather or to avoid predators. Giant otters (genus Pteronura) are found mainly in slow-moving rivers and creeks within forests, swamps, and marshes. Fish and Wildlife Service. Population. Download a beautiful Southern sea otters wallpaper from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They are frequently found in protected harbors, barrier reefs, and kelp forests that offer shelter from wind and waves. Their fur is sensitive to soiling from oil or other contaminants and soiling of the fur by oil generally results in hypothermia or pneumonia and eventually death. Common name: Southern or California sea otter Life Cycle and Habitat of Sea Otters. Their measurements vary depending on the sex. Southern Sea Otter. First, the sea otter uses their feet to reduce or maximize heat loss when water temperatures are too hot or too cold. Predators and Prey of the Sea Otter The sea otter's diet includes about 40 marine species, including urchins, crabs, clams, abalones, mussels, and snails. River otters (genus Lutra) inhabit all types of inland waterways, as well as estuaries and marine coves. A re-evaluation of the role of killer whales Orcinus orca in a population decline of sea otters Enhydra lutris in the Aleutian Islands and a review of alternative hypotheses. (29 kg), while adult females weigh 44 lbs. Enhydra lutrisSea otters live in the nearshore marine ecosystem. They typically use … The listing of Southern sea otters is primarily due to habitat degradation, such as oil spills, and human activities, like entanglement in fishing nets, which impact the otters. Th… They have webbed feet, water-repellent fur to keep them dry and warm, and nostrils and ears that close in the water. They choose areas that have rocky substrates. Photo Taken At Aquarium Of The Pacific, Long Beach, California. 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. Southern sea otter range expansion and habitat use in the Santa Barbara Channel, California Open-File Report 2017-1001 Prepared in cooperation with Bureau of … Some researchers hypothesize that sea otters and their voracious appetites have played an important role in shaping the natural history of the California coastline and the Pacific Rim. What to Know. Luckily, her mother was able to get Langly safely to shore where our trained responders were able to rescue her. Sea otters use rocks, other shellfish, or man-made objects to pry prey from rocks and use them as a hammer or anvil to break open the hard outer shell of some prey species. They live on a wet coast or in the ocean where they find their prey. Incidence of disease in sea otters is also correlated with contaminants such as tributyltin (used as an anti-fouling agent in boat paint), DDT (a banned pesticide) and PCBs. The sea otter has made many adaptations to survive better in its habitat. Males are aggressive toward females and often having bloody noses or scaring from being bitten during copulation. Females are slightly smaller, weighing 14-33 kg and measuring 1-1.4m in length. 2010. These critters live in kelp forests with water in the temperatures of 35 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The sea otters usually live near the shore waters of the North Pacific, from Japan, north to the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula, then from Alaska down along the Pacific coast of North America to Baja, California. Sea otters use rocks to remove prey from their shells. Historically, southern sea otters were present in coastal marine habitats from northern California to Baja California in Mexico. (19.8 kg). Historically, sea otters numbered in the hundreds of thousands in the North Pacific Ocean. The population is most secure in Russia. Order: Carnivora When the water temperatures are too cold sea otters reduce heat loss by floating … Sea otters eat between 20-35% of their own body weight daily. Choose from high quality, high res, hd, widescreen, and other options. The otters' habitat hasn't really budged beyond their current central California enclave, however, over the past 20 years. 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. A small population of sea otters lives at S… Most sea otters remain in habitats with rocky substrate, as their prey tend to be more plentiful in these areas. The kelp acts as an anchor that the sea otters use to wrap themselves in when they are resting. In southern Chile the marine otter is found almost exclusively along exposed rocky seashores; farther north it may inhabit estuaries and fresh water. 3. Currently, the California population numbers around 3,300 and is found from Half Moon Bay to Point Conception. The short, more dense, under layer of fur can have as many as 1 million hairs per square inch, which is the densest of any mammal. Reintroduced populations in British Columbia and Washington state. Sea otter use a variety of strategies for finding their food. An estuary is the mouth of the river and where the tide meets the stream. Pups are often seen bobbing in the water or wrapped in kelp screeching for their mothers when they dive to forage for food. The otter's habitat is in danger, though. 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 otters often float at the water's surface in forests of kelp, or giant seaweed, and entangle themselves to keep from moving in the rolling sea. Taxonomy: They have long whiskers and sensitive forepaws, with retractable claws, which help them to detect and capture prey underwater. Currently the southern sea otter population is estimated at just above 3,000 animals. Can otters use tools? Prepared in cooperation with Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (OCS Study BOEM 2017-002) Open-File Report 2017–1001 Cool Facts. Today, southern sea otters live along the central coast of California; northern sea otters live along the coasts of Washington, Canada, and Alaska. California’s southern sea otter has been listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act since 1977. They are a keystone species, essential to the ecosystem, and they are facing some serious threats! Today southern sea otters have reclaimed about 13 percent of their historic range: the mainland coastline from San Mateo County to Santa Barbara County, California, and San Nicolas Island, Ventura County (as a result of translocation efforts initiated in 1987). Hopefully not stinky skunks!!! This marine mammal can live on land with the same ease as it can live in the water without surfacing for days. Most of the otters that are still alive, have to make sure their habitat will be secure enough for their babies. Sea otters float on their back and break open their prey by pounding it on the rock or other tool on their chest. Sea Otters have very distinct habitats. Southern sea otters can be found along California's central coast, from San Mateo County in the north to near Santa Barbara in the south. The southern sea otter also spends a lot of their time in estuaries. Sea otters are very vulnerable to oil spills from coastal tankers, which is a primary human related reason why the otters are listed. The animals that they prey on devour kelp forests. Sprout, a sea otter pup suffering from domoic acid toxicity, came to our hospital not long after Langly arrived. 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. Adult sea otters standard length is on average 4 ft. 3 in. Without sea otters, sea urchins can overpopulate the sea floor and devour the kelp forests that provide cover and food for many other marine animals. Main Characteristics Of The Sea Otters Anatomy. Molting of their fur takes place gradually throughout the year and frequent grooming is essential to maintain its insulative properties. Protections given to sea otters tend to ‘shelter’ and offer benefits to other species, habitats, and ecosystems including human beings. Sea otters are part of the weasel family. Because of the activity in the sea will never ends because many people rely their life on it … 2. We only ever rescue one sea otter pup every couple of years, and we do not have non-releasable adult sea otters that would have survival skills to pass on. Southern sea otter range expansion and habitat use in the Santa Barbara Channel, California Open-File Report 2017-1001 Prepared in cooperation with Bureau of … IUCN Red List Status Endangered. Sea otters are not just cute animals swimming and splashing carefree offshore. 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. The otter's habitat is in danger, though. Male sea otters have multiple female partners and are territorial during the breeding season from September to November. They typically nurse for 6 to 12 months and are then on their own. 5. Home. Currently, the species has stable populations in Alaska, alon… Habitat and Range. The sea otter spends most of its time in the water but, in some locations, comes ashore to sleep or rest. They are also seen in areas of expansive open soft sandy bottom habitat and coastal wetland waterways such as Elkhorn Slough. Sea otters play a vital role in the health and stability of the nearshore marine ecosystem as a keystone species In a kelp forest, sea urchins can graze on the kelp and eat their holdfasts, resulting in deforesting the kelp from an area. Their teeth are strong enough to crunch open a clam shell or bite through a sea urchin's spines. The sea otter is one of the smallest marine mammals, but one of the largest members of the weasel family, Mustelidae. Scientific Name Enhydra lutris.   The southern river otter (Lontra provocax) is a species of otter that lives in Chile and Argentina.Although called a "river otter", it inhabits both marine and freshwater environments. Additionally, issues of habitat protection have been especially troublesome in the ESA debate, and our knowledge of southern sea otters provides valuable insights into protecting marine habitats. They prefer the shoreline to the deeper waters. Therefore, sea otters are crucial to maintaining kelp forest levels, which provide cover and food for many marine animals. The current sea otter range extends from north of Half Moon Bay in San Mateo county south along the California coast to Point Conception in Santa Barbara county. Species: Lutris Prepared in cooperation with Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (OCS Study BOEM 2017-002) Open-File Report 2017–1001 Great for desktop, mobile, Android or iPhone backgrounds or a Facebook cover photo. Now, the only indigenous population of Southern Sea Otters resides along the coast of central California. Most Sea Otter "raft" in kelp beds with other otters. Fun Facts for Kids. They thrive in warm, coastal waters and usually remain within a kilometer from the shore. There is a much larger population in Alaska, and sea otters are still found in Russia. Assess sea otter distribution, behavior and habitat selection in the vicinity of natural oil and gas seep areas (e.g., Coal Oil Point, Santa Barbara County) 4. This program also only exists for southern sea otters (Joey is a northern one). Family: Mustelidae Southern Sea Otter Range Expansion and Habitat Use in the Santa Barbara Channel, California By M. Tim Tinker, Joseph Tomoleoni, Nicole LaRoche, Lizabeth Bowen, A. Keith Miles, Mike Murray, Michelle Staedler, and Zach Randell . The sea otter’s teeth are adapted for crushing these prey items with their molars being broad and flat and canines rounded and blunt. Males weigh 22-45 kg and are 1.2-1.5 m in length. The tail comprises less than a third of the body length. 1. Beekeepers Caught in Path of Destructive Bobcat Fire And humans in Long Beach are going the extra mile for Millie, a Southern sea otter rescued on the Central Coast, where she was found "stranded.   Sea otters in general have a varied diet but research has shown that individuals tend to specialize on a few main prey species and this specialization in prey preference is passed on from mother to pup. SURVEY REVEALS SOUTHERN SEA OTTER POPULATION DECLINE. These prey species bioaccumulate toxins in their tissues and pass them onto sea otters. Southern sea otter pup Langly was orphaned when her mother received a fatal bite from a great white shark. 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… Another threats to sea otter that you can see is the habitat destruction. Sea otters have a specialized gland that secrets oil to enhance the water-repellent quality of the fur. Southern sea otters live along a stretch of less than 400 kilometers (250 miles) of the California coast around Monterey Bay. Southern sea otters inhabit shallow nearshore coastal ecosystems within 1-2 km from shore. The Asian sea otter is the largest subspecies and has a slightly wider skull and shorter nasal bones than both other subspecies. Males otters are often seen hundreds of miles north and south of the current home range, recently near San Diego, in search of new territory. Kingdom: Animalia 6. This range decreased significantly during the fur trade during the 18th and 19th centuries, with excessive hunting nearly driving the species into extinction by the early 1900s. For sure, these people will destroy the habitat of the sea otter. Sea otters generally forage in nearshore waters shallower than 60 feet (18 m) but have been recorded diving to 300 feet (90 m) or more. The southern sea otter also spends a lot of their time in estuaries. Sea otters are native to the coasts along the eastern and northern Pacific Ocean. They eat, rest, groom themselves, and breed in the water. The sea otter is also considered an “umbrella” species. A 2014 study found that sea otters along the southern California coast were almost 10 times more likely to be located within kelp habitat than outside, while outside kelp beds sea otter numbers declined with distance from the edge of kelp canopies. The coast of the Pacific, especially to the east and north, is home to the magnificent sea otter. Occasionally, sea otters are seen further offshore in water depths of between 40 and 60 meters and on rare occasions in deeper offshore areas where there is an abundance of food. Three separate sub species live along the coasts of Russia, Alaska, and California. (Merriam, 1904) Sea otter populations exhibit a high degree of spatial structure due to the limited mobility of reproductive females. The sea otter is covered in dense fur that consists of two layers. 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. Adult males weight between 22 and 45 kilograms and measure from 1.2 to 1.5 meters.On the other hand the adult females usually weigh between 14 and 33 kilograms, and their length varies from 1 to 1.4 meters.. Humans only have about 100,000 hairs in total on our heads. Information and Media Sources: Southern Sea Otter Range Expansion and Habitat Use in the Santa Barbara Channel, California By M. Tim Tinker, Joseph Tomoleoni, Nicole LaRoche, Lizabeth Bowen, A. Keith Miles, Mike Murray, Michelle Staedler, and Zach Randell . Aggressive toward females and often having bloody noses or scaring from being bitten during copulation otter ’ s are! Thick coat of long black or brown fur and are 1.2-1.5 m in.! M in length prey, including sea urchins, and nostrils and ears close... 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