14 Surprising Facts About Sea Otters

Widely considered the cutest animal in the ocean, sea otters have a troubled history with humans. Let’s celebrate these adorable creatures!

1. The first sea otter was discovered by Georg Steller in 1751

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2. Weighing as much as 99 lbs, the sea otter is the heaviest member of the weasel family

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3. Sea otters are considered a keystone species, meaning they have a disproportionately large effect on its environment relative to its abundance

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5. Sea otters often use rocks to dislodge prey from their shells, such as shellfish and crustaceans, making them one of the only mammals to use tools to hunt and eat

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6. They can dive as deep as 330 feet when foraging for food

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7. Sea otters have the thickest fur of any mammal, and it is considered one of the most valuable types of fur in the world

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8. How thick, you ask? As much as 1,000,000 hairs per square inch!

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9. Due to extensive hunting for their fur between 1741 and 1911, they are classified as an endangered species

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10. Over 1,000,000 sea otters were killed during the Maritime Fur Trade

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11. During the 20th century, sea otters got busy, rebounding BIG TIME and restoring a large portion of the population in what is considered one of the greatest successes in marine conservation

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12. Currently, the most significant threat to sea otters are oil spills

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13. Sea otters can live their entire lives without leaving the water

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14. So next time you visit the zoo or aquarium, make sure you pay them a visit! They do well in captivity and can be found in over 40 around the world

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Like the San Diego Zoo, where this little kid had the best day ever

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