The Sensitive Whiskers of Sea Otters

The Sensitive Whiskers of Sea Otters

Sea Otters are Hairy Marine Mammals Sea otters are the smallest and most recent marine mammal to return to the ocean.  Only mammals possess hair and sea otters are exceptional in this aspect. The density of body hairs of sea otters is one of the highest for any mammal, up to 150,000 hairs/sq cm.  Sea [...]

Sea otters have strong teeth

Study finds sea otter tooth enamel more than twice as tough as ours

Sea otter dental enamel is highly resistant to chipping due to its microstructure Ziscovici et al. Biol Lett 2014 10 (10), p. 20140484   Abstract Dental enamel is prone to damage by chipping with large hard objects at forces that depend on chip size and enamel toughness. Experiments on modern human teeth have suggested that [...]

sea otter

Study: Slime-producing molecules help spread disease from cats to sea otters

The spread of diseases from land animals to sea otters and other marine mammals is aided and abetted by gelatinous, sticky polymers produced by seaweed, reports a research team headed by a UC Davis veterinary infectious-disease expert. These large, complex molecules form slimy biofilms and bind water-borne organic matter into larger particles, in which disease-causing [...]

Otter mom and pup

California’s Sea Otter Numbers Holding Steady

U.S. Geological Survey has just released the Spring 2014 California Sea Otter Census Results. The official range-wide southern sea otter abundance index, calculated from both the California mainland range and San Nicolas Island population, is 2,944. The 5-year average growth rate for the overall population is 0.7%.  For more info, check out this USGS blog [...]

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Sea otter eating clam

Sea Otters Love Clams

What do sea otters like to eat in the Elkhorn Slough?  Clams, and lots of ‘em!   If you’ve ever kayaked the slough at low tide, you’ve probably seen discarded clam shells all along the shoreline.  Well there’s a good reason for that.  Researchers have found that in the Elkhorn Slough, over 80% of a [...]

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#WinaWildy Sweepstakes

Announcing the #WinaWildy Sweepstakes!

Want to experience nature in a whole new way? We’ve partnered with our friends at Wilderness Systems to give you a chance to win a Wildy Tsunami 140. It’s 14 feet of otter spotting, whale watching, coastal touring awesomeness! Want better odds of winning? We’ll give you an additional bonus entry for every one of [...]

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Otter pup nursing

Motherhood is no picnic for sea otter mums

Sea otters have voracious appetites, and for good reason. As the smallest marine mammals, they face unprecedented metabolic challenges just to stay warm, consuming a quarter of their own body mass each day. And there are times when the metabolic demands of sea otter females rocket even further. Nicole Thometz, from the University of California [...]

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Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) flying over coastline (Photo: NOAA/MBNMS)

MBNMS Superintendent releases statement about aerial drone use in Sanctuary

  A Statement From MBNMS Superintendent Regarding The Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems The use of unmanned aircraft systems, also known as aerial drones or quadcopters, has markedly increased in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) during the past year. It is important for operators to know that these aerial vehicles are regulated above the [...]

Sea otter pup all tucked in

UF Veterinary Researchers Discover New Poxvirus in Sea Otters

After studying unusual skin lesions seen in two orphaned sea otter pups, University of Florida scientists and their collaborators have identified a previously unknown poxvirus in the infected animals. “To our knowledge, this is the first report of a poxvirus in a mustelid, the group of mammals including otters, mink, badgers and related species,” said [...]

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Sea otter pup asleep on mom

Study Finds Sea Otter Moms Risk Own Survival to Raise Pups

A new study conducted by researchers from UC Santa Cruz, U.S. Geological Survey and the Monterey Bay Aquarium finds that sea otter moms risk their own survival to raise pups.  Just how hard do otter moms work?  The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, reveals females with 6 month old pups spend up [...]

About seaotters.com

Seaotters.com is an education and outreach initiative dedicated to raising awareness about California's threatened sea otters and the role research plays in the species recovery and conservation. It's a collaboration of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, U.C. Santa Cruz, U.C. Davis, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, among others. We're #WildforOtters! Are you?