Monday, July 6, 2009

Sea Otters

The sea otter has made many adaptations in order to survive better in its habitat. First, the sea otter uses their feet to reduce or maximize heat loss when water temperatures are too hot or too cold. When the water temperatures are too cold sea otters reduce heat loss by floating on their backs with their feet out of the water. When the sea otter is trying to lose heat, they extend their feet out underwater to maximize their surface area. To preserve body heat sea otters tend to spread out or fold up their feet.

Also the sea otter has very good eyes which allow them to see very good underwater and on land. This is very useful because sea otters during some point in their life will be on both land and water. Also the sea otter has a lot of insulating fur to keep warm. Sea Otter's have roughly 850,000 to one million hairs per square inch on their body

The sea otter has long whiskers growing around their muzzle to detect fish. They can do this by detecting vibrations in the water caused by the fish’s tail. The whiskers help the sea otters hunt in any water condition. Also the molars of the sea otter are very different than other animals. There molars are for crushing things and not for fish slicing and things of that nature. All of these adaptations have helped the sea otter become comfortable in their environment.

The sea otter is one of the few animals known to use tools. It uses small rocks or other objects to pry prey from rocks and to hammer or pry open its food. The sea otter can dive up to 330 ft (100 m) when foraging for food. The thickest fur in the animal kingdom. Unlike other marine mammals, the sea otter does not have a layer of blubber to help keep it warm.

Interesting Facts
When the sea otter is underwater, its ears and nostrils close. The sea otter has webbed hind feet which are perfect for swimming, its forefeet are smaller with semi-retractable claws. Since a sea otter must generate a large amount of heat to maintain its body temperature, it must eat about 20 lbs of food a day. Abalone is a favorite food. The sea otter sleeps and rests on its back, usually anchored in a kelp bed. It sleeps at sea, sometimes joining hundreds of others in resting areas called rafts. Sea otters give birth in the ocean.