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Sea Otter

Sea Otter
Photographer: Mike Baird

Sea Otters asleep holding paws
Sea Otters asleep holding paws
Photographer: Joe Mess

Sea Otter and her Pup
Sea Otter and her Pup
Photographer: Mike Baird

Sea Otter Range Map (North Pacific)
Sea Otter Range Map (North Pacific)

Raft of Sea Otters
Raft of Sea Otters
Photographer: Mila Zinkova
Latin Name Enhydra lutris
Conservation Status Endangered
Location North Pacific
Colour Brown
Length 55 - 130 cm (21.5 - 51 inches)
Tail 13 - 33 cm (5 - 13 inches)
Weight 21 - 28 Kgs (46 - 62 lbs)
Life Expectancy

Up to 20 Yrs

Main Characteristics

Sea Otters are a large species of otter. They have a body length between 55 and 130 cms (21.5 - 51 inches), a tail length between 13 and 33 cms (5 - 13 inches) and they weigh between 21 and 28 kgs (46 - 62 lbs).

They have very dense brown fur and a strong, flat tail that acts as a rudder. They have flipper-like hind feet and small front feet with retractable claws that they use for grooming and holding onto their food.

Sea Otters have excellent eyesight, a good sense of smell and strong teeth.

When they sleep they often hold paws or attach themselves to kelp to prevent them from drifting away from their group.


Sea Otters inhabit coastal areas in the north pacific, particularly areas near marine kelp forests. They rarely come ashore and they congregate in single sex groups known as "rafts".


Sea Otters feed on crabs, clams, mussels, sea urchins and abalone. They forage on the sea bed for food and they crack hard shells using rocks that they have collected from the bottom of the ocean


After a gestation period of approximately 9 months, Sea Otters give birth to a single (rarely 2) pup. The female keeps her pup dry by carrying it on her belly while she floats on her back. The pup is weaned by the time it is a year old and Sea Otters reach sexual maturity at 2 - 5 years of age.


The main predators of Sea Otters are killer whales and sharks.


Subspecies of Sea Otter include:

Common Sea Otter
(Enhydra lutris lutris)

Southern Sea Otter
(Enhydra lutris nereis)

Northern Sea Otter
(Enhydra lutris kenyoni)

Interesting Facts

Sea Otters are the smallest marine mammal.

Similar Animals

African Clawless Otter
Smooth-Coated Otter
Spotted-Necked Otter
European Otter
Southern River Otter
Hairy-Nosed Otter
Giant Otter
Marine Otter


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