Sea Otter

Sea Otter

Enhydra lutris

Physical Description

The Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris) is a marine mammal with a dense, water-resistant fur coat, which is the thickest of any mammal. Adults typically range from 3.9 to 4.9 feet in length and weigh between 30 to 100 pounds, with males being larger than females. Their fur is generally brown to reddish-brown, with lighter fur on the head and neck. Sea Otters have webbed hind feet, small forepaws used for grooming and feeding, and a broad, flat tail.


Sea Otters inhabit coastal waters, often found in kelp forest ecosystems where they use the kelp to anchor themselves while resting. They prefer shallow, nearshore environments but can also be found in deeper offshore areas. They spend most of their time in the water but come ashore occasionally.

Geographical Range

Sea Otters are found along the eastern Pacific coast of North America, from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska to Baja California in Mexico. Significant populations exist in Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, and California, particularly around Monterey Bay and the Channel Islands.


Sea Otters have a varied diet that includes sea urchins, crabs, clams, mussels, snails, and various species of fish. They are known for their use of tools, such as rocks, to break open hard-shelled prey. Their feeding habits play a crucial role in maintaining the health of kelp forest ecosystems by controlling sea urchin populations.