What kind of animal is a sea otter? Explanation of characteristics, ecology, and habitat Animals that can be seen in domestic aquariums


What kind of animal is the sea otter, which is currently a popular and endangered species? We will introduce and explain its characteristics, ecology, breeding, and habitat. Sea otters are cute and popular animals that live in close contact with water. This species is the only living species in the genus Otter, and it is one of the animals that can often be seen in aquariums and zoos.

What is a sea otter? About basic status

Nowadays, sea otters are mammals that belong to the mustelid family. The body length is 100-130cm and the weight is 22-45kg. The scientific name is Enhydra lutris, and it is written in kanji as 海獺. This species is the only extant species that constitutes the genus Otter. Below is a list of information.

English(英名)Sea Otter
scientific name(学名)Enhydra lutris
classification(分類)Mammalia、 Carnivora、Mustelidae、Enhydra

About classification

Sea otters are thought to have diverged from a common ancestor with otters around 5 million years ago. In other words, they were thought to be in the same category as otters. The following subspecies of sea otters exist:

scientific name
Western sea otterEnhydra lutris lutris
Eastern sea otterEnhydra lutris kenyoni 
Southern sea otterEnhydra lutris nereis

Enhydra lutris lutris

A member of the sea otter family that lives in the Kurile Islands and the Komandoru Islands. This is the largest sea otter among them.

Enhydra lutris kenyoni 

This sea otter lives from the Aleutian Islands to Alaska, and is also called the Alaskan sea otter.

Enhydra lutris nereis

It is called the California sea otter. This sea otter lives on the California coast and was previously distributed in Mexico.

About sea otter habitat

Wild sea otters live in the North Pacific Ocean, from the North American continent to the Kuril Islands.

feature is? What kind of creature is it?

Its body is long and its head is flat and large, but its neck is short and its ears are small. Their fur is brown and they have a very good sense of smell. Sea otters live primarily in the water and rarely come onto land. It is distributed from California in the United States to Alaska, the Aleutian Islands, and coastal areas such as Kamchatka. They often rest during the day and do not leave the water at night.

What is your personality like?

Sea otters are very intelligent creatures and have a gentle personality. It is possible to communicate with humans to some extent.

What is the ecology of sea otters?

Sea otters live on crustaceans such as sea urchins, shellfish, and crabs, as well as fish. Breeding often takes place around April, and it is possible to give birth to one calf at a time. Parents carry their children on their chests or backs when swimming while raising their children. The lifespan is said to be about 15 years.

What are the natural enemies of sea otters?

Sea otters’ natural enemies are killer whales and sharks. However, sea otters generally do not have very strong enemies.

Are sea otters an endangered species?

Sea otters are listed as an endangered species. By the beginning of the 20th century, the population had declined to an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 individuals, and they are in a very dangerous state. This is due to the following reasons. It is also listed in Appendix II of the Washington Convention. There are many problems, there is a possibility of extinction, and there is a need for protection.

spread of infectious diseases

In California, their population has declined considerably due to damage caused by a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. In immunocompromised states, the condition can be serious or even fatal.

Overfishing continues unabated

Overhunting of sea otters for their fur continues unabated. Because of their high-quality fur, their numbers have declined significantly due to overhunting for this purpose, and the government is beginning to take steps to regulate them.

body hair contaminated with oil

Sea otters are animals that live at sea. Due to oil spills, the number of deaths due to oil contamination of body hair is increasing. Sea otters are increasingly losing body heat to seawater and freezing to death. Many people die due to accidents.

Can sea otters be kept?

Sea otters are designated as an endangered species. Furthermore, international trade is severely restricted by the Washington Convention, making it extremely difficult for the general public to keep them. In Japan, they can be seen in aquariums at facilities such as Toba Aquarium and Marine World Uminonakamichi. It is recommended as it has been reported in the news. It is exhibited in areas all over the country (Hokkaido, Tokyo, Fukuoka, etc.). If you have good access and time, let’s see the popular sea otters.


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