Thursday, June 21, 2012

Life of Sea Otter

 

Life of Sea | Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris) | Sea otter is a marine mammal native to the coasts of northern and eastern North Pacific. They are the heaviest members of the weasel family, but one of the smallest marine mammals. They are usually found in areas with protection against the most severe ocean winds, such as rocky coastlines, thick kelp forests and coral reefs. Sea otter may also live in areas where the sea bed in the first place consists of mud, sand or silt. Unlike most mammals, the primary form of insulation of the Sea otter is an exceptionally thick coat of fur, the densest in the animal kingdom. While it can walk on land, Sea otter lives mostly in the ocean. 

 

Sea otter is the most derived from the otters. The muzzle has a set of thick vibrissae. The large head an obtuse snout and is connected to the body is penetrated by a short neck. The front legs are short and comparable to that of other otters with a loose flap of skin under each serving as a sack for food. The front legs are very skillful and sensitive. The hind legs are large and flat as flippers, they are directed backwards. Although the tail is relatively short (with adders) is not appreciably tapered. It is flattened top to bottom in a flat-like structure. The fur of Sea otters is the densest of a mammal. A sparse layer of guard hairs overlays the dense undercoat. Otters completely covered with the coat other than the nose support, in the ear cups, and the electrodes on the bottom of the foot. The coat color is dark reddish brown to black. Some people, especially elderly, may be gray, with the fur around the head, neck and shoulders are almost white. 

 

Scientific classification
Kingdom:     Animalia
Phylum:     Chordata
Subphylum:     Vertebrata
Class:     Mammalia
Order:     Carnivora
Family:     Mustelidae
Subfamily:     Lutrinae
Genus:     Enhydra, Fleming, 1828
Species:     E. lutris

Sea otter is diurnal. It has a period of foraging and eating in the morning, from about one hour before sunrise, then rest or sleep in the afternoon. Foraging resumes for a few hours in the afternoon and before sunset sinks, and a third foraging period may occur around midnight. Women with puppies seem more inclined to feed at night. Sea otters spend much of their time care, which consists of cleaning the fur, the unraveling of knots, removing loose hair, rubbing the fur to squeeze water out and introduce air, and blows air into the coat. When eating, Sea otters rolling in the water frequently, apparently for food to wash their hair. 

 

Sea otter hunts in short dives, frequently on the seabed. While it can to keep his breath for five minutes a dive usually last about a minute and no more than four. It is the only marine animal capable of lifting and turning over rocks, which often does with his front paws when searching for prey. Sea otter may also pluck snails and other organisms from kelp and dig deep into the mud under water for shellfish. It is the only marine mammal that catches fish with his front legs instead of his teeth. Sea otter the use of stones in hunting and feeding makes it one of the few mammals to use tools. To hard shells to open, the pound its prey with both paws against a rock on his chest. To pry an abalone off the rock, it hammers with an abalone shell with a large stone. 

 

Although every independent young adult and enter alone, Sea otters tend to rest together in same sex groups or rafts. A fluid normally contains from 10 to 100 animals, with male rafts which is greater than females. The largest raft ever more than 2000 Sea otters. In order not to drift out to sea while resting and eating, sea otters may wrap themselves in kelp. Male is most likely to mate as he maintains a breeding ground area in an area that female's preferences. The species exhibits a variety of vocal behavior. The cry of a puppy is often compared to that of a seagull. Although Sea otters can be playful and fun, they are not considered true social animals. They spend much time alone, and every adult can have its own needs in terms of hunting, healthcare, and defense. 

 

Sea otters are polygynous where males have multiple female partners. However, temporary pair-bonding occurs a few days in estrus between a woman and her partner. Mating takes place in the water and can be rough, the male biting the female on the muzzle, which often leaves scars on the nose and sometimes with her head under water. Sea otters in the wild often develop worn teeth, which may account for their apparently shorter life. They have a varied diet of more than 150 preys. The main prey benthic invertebrates such as abalone, sea urchins, crabs and rock. However, sea otters also eat other crustaceans, cephalopods, and some near-bottom fish in Asia and the Aleutian Islands. Predation by Sea otters occurs, but it is not common. Many predators like otters, with their pungent scent glands, unappetizing. Young predators can kill an otter, and not eating. Leading mammalian predators of this species include killer whales and sea lions, bald eagles also prey on pups and grabs them from the water surface. 

 

Sea otters whose numbers were once estimated at 150.000 to 300.000, were widely hunted for their fur between 1741 and 1911, and the world population has fallen to 1000-2000 individuals in a fraction of their historic range. A subsequent international ban on hunting, conservation efforts and reintroduction programs in already populated areas have contributed to the number of rebounding, and the species now accounts for around two thirds of its former range. The recovery of the Sea otter is considered an important success in the protection of the marine environment, although the population in the Aleutian Islands and California have recently declined or have flats at low levels. For these reasons, the Sea otter remains classified as an endangered species.

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