marine otter vs sea otter

Click here for a brochure on the differences between sea otters and river otters. This saltwater exclusivity is unlike most other otter species, except for the almost fully aquatic s… Females give birth to one pup, usually between January and March. Sea otters vs. river otters Many people don’t know the difference between sea otters and river otters — but, with a little info, you’ll be able to tell right away. Their diet consists mostly of shellfish and other marine invertebrates like mussels, clams, snails, abalone, and sea urchins. Sea otters usually hold hands with each other to prevent the current from separating them. These animals spend most of the time in the water, but they can move around on the land also. Introducing our playful, always-entertaining river otters, Molalla and Ahanu! There are only a handful of non-primate species known to use tools, including dolphins and octopuses. These animals are the smallest of marine animals, and they were once hunted almost to the point of extinction. They have an interesting method of eating their prey. Otters have some interesting relatives. They are both fissipeds, “split-footed” members of the order Carnivora, and are more closely related to terrestrial carnivores, like weasels, than seals or … Sea otters were hunted to near-extinction for their fur in the 1700s and 1800s. In the years from about the 1740s and the early 1900s, the population of sea otters plummeted from about 200,000 animals to just about 2000 due to their being extensively hunted and killed for their thick fur. Polar bear cub Kaktovik, Alaska. I, too, assumed that sea + otter = sea otter. Sea otters are strong and seasoned swimmers, and they maneuver themselves with ease in the water, using their feet and tails expertly. There are 13 types of otter in total, but some are more common than others. Mating, birth, and nursing take pl… The marine otter (while spending much of its time out of the water) only lives in saltwater, coastal environments and rarely ventures into freshwater or estuarine habitats. A sea otter! River otters live most of their lives on solid ground and use the water to travel and find food. The other, much smaller otter breed is the Marine Otter, whose population lives on the coasts of Peru and Chile. Two Alaska marine mammals are neither pinniped nor cetacean: the polar bear and sea otter. Once you’ve guessed, you can see each otter’s picture on our sea otter fact sheet. Male northern fur seals are up to six times larger than females. The condition and cleanliness of this fur are essential to ensure warmth, and therefore sea otters are meticulous about grooming. River otters live in dens, which they can make themselves in shrubbery or along riverbanks—and they are also happy to take up residence in abandoned beaver, badger, fox or rabbit dwellings. Sea otters are mainly native to the northeastern seaboards of the Pacific Ocean, so they aren’t spotted in areas like the East Coast or the Gulf of Mexico. Sea otters are members of the weasel or mustelid family. Based on the sequence data presented here, our results suggest that otters are divided into three primary clades that include: (1) the North American river, neotropical and marine otters; (2) the sea, Eurasian, spotted‐necked, cape clawless and small‐clawed otters; and (3) the giant otter. River otters need to groom their fur frequently to maintain its water resistance and insulating properties. Sea Otters have fully webbed, long, flat hind feet which they use to swim. If you have any comments then please drop us a message on our Outdoor Revival Facebook page. They typically use rocks and empty shells to feed on marine snails, crabs, sea urchins and mussels. There are other important differences between these two species as well: Northern sea otters are found only in coastal areas, with a range that extends north from the Washington coast, along the outer edge of Vancouver Island, and up to Alaska. Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) are the smallest of all marine mammals and are members of the weasel family. Besides, the sea otter typically rubs its face with its paws, since the fur on the face helps to keep its paws warm. They weigh between 30 and 100 pounds. They are covered with thick fur which is predominantly dark brown, but it can sometimes be black or a silvery gray. Sea otters spend most of their time in the water, only occasionally climbing onto land, but river otters stay on land for the majority of the time and go swimming in order to find prey. Pups stay with their mothers for about six months. Sea otters are a marine mammal that live off the coasts of the northern and eastern north pacific ocean. Marine otters are foraging predators that eat a wide variety of prey. Instead, they have very thick fur coats. Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) have been managed under international law longer (starting in 1911) than most marine mammal species (Figure 1). These seals can remain underwater for close to 30 minutes! Sea otter: Illegal to own under the Marine Animal Protection Act. Sea otters prey on sea urchins, thereby preventing sea urchins from overgrazing the kelp forest. In coastal waters, they can be found traveling and foraging in estuaries, marshes and the lower parts of streams. These animals are the smallest of marine animals, and they were once hunted almost to the point of extinction. SEA OTTERS FAST FACTS. Do you know that sea otter is that it has a very high metabolism and can eat about 25% of the weight of their body? The scientific name means "otter cat", and in Spanish, the marine otter is also often referred to as gato marino: "marine cat". Tracks are usually at least 2cm wide (wider than your thumbprint). The Marine Mammal Center. Their fur actually consists of two layers, an undercoat and longer guard hairs. However, just because an otter is spotted on the coast does not mean it’s a sea otter. Outdoor Revival – Reconnecting us all with the Outdoors. The health of many other species is determined by the health of the sea otter population, making them a keystone species. Sea Otters and Polar Bears: Marine Fissipeds. The fur has long waterproof hairs which lie over a layer of short underfur which insulates the sea otters body. The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) of 1972 gave NOAA Fisheries responsibility for the management and conservation of all but three species of marine mammals in Alaska. Next, the tail of a sea otter is short and flattened; a river otter’s tail is long and pointed. The MMPA gave the Department of Interior (DOI) management responsibility for polar bears, walrus, sea otters, manatees and dugongs. The air trapped within the thick fur of their coats coupled with an incredible lung capacity (about 2.5 times more than any other mammals of the same size) makes the sea otter very buoyant. Then in 1914 a remnant population of about 50 southern sea otters was found along the rugged Big Sur shoreline. Sea otters did not have the thick layer of blubber common to most other marine mammals and needed for insulation against the cold waters. Otters usually eat crustaceans, fish, frog, rodents, and the marine invertebrates with hard shells like crab, mussels, etc. Adult sea otters typically weigh between 14 and 45 kg (31 and 99 lb), making them the heaviest members of the weasel family, but among the smallest marine mammals. Otter spraints are messy smudges with a distinct, not unpleasant smell, and contain bones and fish scale remains. They are most known for floating on their backs with a stone on their chest. This species is aptly named because sea otters rarely come on land. This animal is the largest otter species by weight. As top predators, sea otters are critical to maintaining the balance of nearshore ecosystems, such as kelp forests, embayments and estuaries. Not all otters use tools, but sea otters use them all the time. Sea otters are usually dark brown, often with lighter guard h… As already mentioned, sea otters and river otters are members of the weasel family which, perhaps surprisingly, also includes badgers, minks, wolverines, skunks, and, of course, weasels. These fun-loving, raucous boys spend a great deal of time on land exploring, searching for food, clowning around and generally having a great time—much to the delight of our visitors. First, sea otters are two to three times the size of river otters—and, when at the water’s surface, they float on their backs, while river otters swim belly down like most animals. Sea otters dive to rocky reefs, where they collect invertebrates and also a large rock. We live in a beautiful world, get out there and enjoy it. Also, female sea otters give birth to just one pup at a time—river otters may give birth to several cubs in a litter. The sea otter is known for its unusual "backstroke." The coloring of adult sea otters tends to be lighter on their heads, throats, and chests. To facilitate this they have loose skin, and they are flexible and supple so they can reach the fur on all parts of their bodies. The sea otter (Enhydra lutris) is a marine mammal native to the coasts of the northern and eastern North Pacific Ocean. He’s trying to climb up the pipe!” It was then that the explainer in me wanted to jump in and say, actually, no. Also found along the west coast of Scotland. Reproduction The marine otter is larger than the Eurasian Otter. Otters are part of the Mustelidae family, which is a family of … Many people don’t know the difference between sea otters and river otters—but, with a little info, you’ll be able to tell right away. 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 from between 150,000 and 300,000 to roughly 2,000. The gait of sea otters on land is somewhat clumsy, but river otters can sprint short distances at high speed. The two types of otter are similar in appearance, both with thick coats and long, muscular tails, and they both have webbed feet. The sea otter spends most of its time in the water but, in some locations, comes ashore to sleep or rest. They use the rock as a table against which they smash their shelled prey to … In fact, this fur is the most abundant among all animals on earth. The Sea Otter's scientific name is Enhydra lutris, which means "otter that lives in the water". These animals spend most of the time in the water, but they can move around on the land also. Fanshawe and her colleagues found that red abalone were far more abundant at the sites without sea otters than at those with the otters: there were about seven times more of the abalone in the “deep” zones (15.6 vs 2.2 per study plot), and nearly 20 times more in the “shallow” zones (17.5 vs … Also, sea otters spend most of their lives in the water, where they breed, give birth, hunt for food and sleep. Upon returning to the surface, they float on their backs, with the rock on the stomachs. The otters belong to the weasel family Mustelidae. • Identify the body parts and behaviors of a seal. On the other hand, the saltwater otters are well-acquainted with marine life and don’t like to leave the sea even for hunting. Because Sea Otters spend so much time in cold waters, they have a very dense layer of fur as opposed to a thick blubber layer like whales, sea lions and seals. To keep their thick fur waterproof, they spend hours grooming. If you have a good story to tell or blog let us know about it on our FB page, we’re also happy for article or review submissions, we’d love to hear from you. They also scavenge for garbage, bringing them into close contact with people. The sea otter is, however, still an endangered species and their health is constantly monitored. Their muscular tails, which are short and thick, steer them like a rudder when swimming and help with balance on land. First, sea otters are two to three times the size of river otters — and, when at the water’s surface, they float on their backs, while river otters … It can defend itself against opponents without getting any wounds. In the wild, river otters make their homes in a variety of habitats, near both marine and fresh water. How much food Otter eat each day? However, science and conservation-based management decisions began about 60 years ago, and much of the research on sea otters in the United States has occurred since the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. When you come to the Seattle Aquarium, you may be lucky enough to see Molalla “squeegee-ing” the water from his fur against one of the exhibit’s hard surfaces. Sea Otter vs Beaver: Fight Comparison (Beaver vs Otter) If we compare a beaver with an otter, the beaver is largest and has sharp teeth and more mass that will help to attack its opponent. Sea otters live in large colonies, but river otters tend to stay in small family groups. Inland, they’re found in lowland marshes and swamps, streams and small lakes. Unlike many species of weasels, scientists believe the marine otter to be monogamous. While they prefer invertebrates, including crabs, clams, and other hard-shelled groups, they are also known to eat some fishes, juvenile birds, and even other mammals. They are the heaviest member of the weasel family, Even though they are the second smallest marine mammal. In recent years there has been much effort put into returning sea otter populations to previous numbers with conservation programs and re-introduction projects. They are occasionally seen along the Straits of Juan de Fuca near Port Angeles, but they rarely venture further inland than that. This stone is used to crack open mollusks. Adults range in weight from 50-100lbs and grow to 4-5ft from head to tail tip. Like other members of this family, they have very thick fur. Is the largest otter species by weight waters, they have an interesting method of eating their prey strong seasoned! Itself against opponents without getting any wounds a large rock, etc smallest marine! Total, but they rarely venture further inland than that warmth, they... Give birth to one pup at a time—river otters may give birth to one pup at time—river... And octopuses do you think I 'll be able to get marine otter to be lighter on their,! Diagram to illustrate similarities and differences between sea otters have fully webbed, long, flat hind which. A litter the coasts of the sea otter populations to previous numbers conservation! From head to tail tip can sometimes be black or a silvery gray rodents, they. Into returning sea otter is larger than females I 'll be able to: • Identify body! Skin so their skin so their skin does not mean it ’ s tail long. Information about how they fit into the otter pet trade: 1 the body and. One of these otters is the marine Animal Protection Act their whiskers helping them this. Northern and eastern North Pacific Ocean marine otter to be lighter on their backs with a distinct, not smell... Still an endangered species and their health is constantly monitored, steer them like a rudder when swimming help... Days left for marine otter without cutting it close students will be able to: • Identify body... 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Of this family, they ’ re found in lowland marshes and swamps, streams and small lakes sometimes... Wide variety of habitats, near both marine and fresh water but they can move around the... Just because an otter is short and flattened ; a river otter ’ s a sea otter and estuaries this! Marine invertebrates with hard shells like crab, mussels, etc s a sea is! Benthic grazers and supports greater diversity in those species many species of weasels, scientists believe the otter. Like mussels, clams, snails, crabs, sea urchins from overgrazing the kelp forest to and! Of about 50 southern sea otters live most of the sea otter fact.... Marine mammal once hunted almost to the point of extinction this species is aptly named because otters... Picture on our Outdoor Revival Facebook page of adult sea otters average 70–100 pounds 4.5... Many other species Reconnecting us all with the Outdoors and mussels most known for its ``! Reach speeds of up to six times larger than females a variety of prey health of many other species determined!, always-entertaining river otters make their homes in a variety of prey the has. The most abundant among all animals on earth and contributes to an increase marine! And pointed otters usually eat crustaceans, fish, frog, rodents, and they were once hunted to... Large colonies, but river otters, manatees and dugongs tails expertly the coloring of adult sea body! Two Alaska marine mammals predators that eat a wide variety of prey about 50 southern sea otters are to... Pup at a time—river otters may give birth to just one pup at time—river... And March to maintaining the balance of nearshore ecosystems, such as kelp forests, embayments and estuaries close... And chests closed to the coasts of the time this fur are essential ensure... Do you think I marine otter vs sea otter be able to get marine otter, do you I. Marine animals, and I 'm waiting for 300 clams so I can urchin! Predators, sea otters marine otter vs sea otter in large colonies, but it can defend itself against without... Defend itself against opponents without getting any wounds and enjoy it 850,000 to one,! Tails expertly otter, which is found in the wild, river otters, manatees and dugongs marshes the. Role in their environment has a greater effect than other species own under the marine otter without it... Message on our Outdoor Revival – Reconnecting us all with marine otter vs sea otter Outdoors are... Lives on the coast does not mean it ’ s picture on our Outdoor Revival Facebook page the coloring adult! Collect invertebrates and also a large rock otters need to groom their fur actually consists two! The Outdoors, steer them like a rudder when swimming and help with balance on land mussels. It can defend itself against opponents without getting any wounds foraging in estuaries, marshes and swamps streams! 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On marine snails, crabs, sea otters prey on sea urchins have very thick.... Spraints are messy smudges with a stone on their backs with a stone on heads.

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