Put Your Sea Otter Knowledge to the Test
- Species conservation
You already know southern sea otters are cute and charismatic, but how well do you know this threatened species? Put your knowledge to the test. Click “Show More” to reveal the answer!
How many hairs per square inch does a southern sea otter have?
With nearly one million hairs per square inch, southern sea otters have the densest fur of all mammals.
But why do sea otters need so much fur? You see, they don’t have a thick layer of blubber, which means they need some other adaptation to keep them warm in the chilly ocean. In fact, sea otters have two layers of hair that trap air and keep their skin dry. But if exposed to oil, their fur loses its insulating qualities.
About how many individuals are in the southern sea otter population today?
Today there are about 3,000 southern sea otters living along the California coast, ranging from San Mateo to Santa Barbara counties.
After being hunted to the brink of extinction for their luxurious fur, southern sea otters are slowly recovering, and the population is listed as a threatened species.
Did you know that sea otters are guardians for human health? You see, when they are impacted by conditions like domoic acid poisoning from contaminated shellfish, our experts alert the public health department so they can better target surveillance and protect human health.
At what age do sea otter pups learn to swim?
Sea otter pups start learning to swim at around four weeks old.
Before learning this crucial survival skill, newborn sea otters weigh three to five pounds and are extremely buoyant. In fact, a sea otter pup’s fur traps so much air that it cannot dive underwater!
Mothers spend much of their time grooming their pups and are often observed carrying them on their chest. After about eight months alongside their mothers, pups are weaned and on their own.
Yes, I want to save a life!
You’ll be giving sick and injured animals the best possible care at the Center’s state-of-the-art hospital. With your gift today, you are giving a patient a second chance at life in the wild.
Southern Sea Otter