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

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

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

4. THEY EAT LOTS OF SEA URCHIN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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