Friday, July 18, 2014

Otters — More Than Meets The Eye


 Taught by their mothers, sea otter pups learn how to break open hard shells. Extremely intelligent marine mammals, they also have the densest fur of any animal.

Otters — More Than Meets The Eye

Cute or brute?
Contrary to how cute sea otters appear to be and how stuffed-toy companies portray them, otters are 'pound-for-pound' — one of Mother Nature's cleverest & fiercest animals.
Sea otters are the heaviest members of the weasel family -yet, are also the second smallest marine mammals. Regardless, they are labeled a keystone specie & referred to as an apex predator. 
Unlike other marine mammals, they do not have a layer of blubber to help them keep warm. Instead, sea otters have the densest fur in the animal kingdom, ranging from 250,000 to a million hairs per square inch, which insulates them.
— Mean Mug —
Sea otters are a keystone species, meaning their role in their environment has a greater effect than other species. As predators, sea otters are critical to maintaining the balance of the near-shore kelp ecosystems. Without sea otters, the undersea animals they prey on would devour the kelp forests off the coast that provide cover and food for many other marine animals. Additionally, sea otters indirectly help to reduce levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, a prevalent greenhouse gas, as kelp forests play an important role in capturing carbon in coastal ecosystems.

Sea otters a.k.a. River wolves

FUN FACTS:
1. Sea otters are one of the few animals that use tools — mainly rocks but others have been seen using glass soda bottles and cement blocks.

2. Newborn otter pups can not sink or dive.

3. Sea otters have built-in pockets under their arms.

4. A group of sea otters resting together is called a raft.

5. Sea otters are the only marine mammal without a layer of blubber — fat.

6. Sea otters’ fur has ten times the # of hairs per square inch than we have on our entire head. (Humans: 100,000 -vs- Otters: 1,000,000)

7. Sea otters’ teeth are strong enough to bite through the spines of a sea urchin and/or crunch open/crush through a clam shell.

8. Wild adult sea otters eat approx. 25% or more of their body weight per day — more than 12 pounds of seafood; while a 150 lb human would need to eat approx. 37 lbs of food a day.

9. Sea otters’ diets can consist of: crabs, mussels, clams, scallops, abalone, sea urchins, octopus, squid, snails, sea stars, and fat innkeeper worms.

10. Sea otters’ are creek apex predators — their only marine predators are humans, great white sharks, and killer whales; whilst their prey may surprisingly consist of crocodiles.
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