Sea OtterPhotos, Pictures, Prints

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Enhydra lutris

Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) are marine mammals native to North Pacific coast from Alaska to California. Adults weigh between 30-100lb (14-45kg), making them the heaviest members of the weasel family. Because they dive to the sea floor in search of food, these animals live along shorelines. They prey mostly upon marine invertebrates such as sea urchins, mollusks, and crustaceans. However, they also hunt various fish species. Often, they use rocks to dislodge prey and to open shells—making them one of the few mammals to use tools.

In most of their range, they are a keystone species. This means they control sea urchin populations, which would otherwise inflict extensive damage to kelp forest ecosystems. That said, these otters’ diet includes prey species that are also valued by humans as food, which leads to conflicts with fishermen.

Unlike most marine mammals, the sea otter’s primary form of insulation is an exceptionally thick coat of fur. Sea otters have the densest fur of any mammal.

Some of the best locations to photograph sea otters in the wild include Prince William Sound and Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska, and Monterey Bay in California.

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