Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sea otters

Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) is a member of the weasel family / weasel (Mustelidae) are most severe at the same time the smallest marine mammal. Adult sea otters typically weigh between 14-45 kg and a length between 1 to 1.5 m. Sea otters can swim up to the speed of 9 km / hour. In a large family Mustelidae, there are 57 species of 22 genera. Some of them live on land, rivers, and seas. Let a cursory acquaintance with the brethren of other marine otters.

Morphology & Description of Physical
Sea otters has a special nose & ears that can close when swimming in the water. Forelegs have rough pads & claws to hold prey, and webbed hind feet for swimming.

Sea otters have folds of skin under the arm (axillary) as a storage bag their prey before it was brought to the surface. Unlike other marine mammals, sea otters have no blubber and relies on a very thick fur to keep warm. Sea otter fur is the most dense in the animal kingdom. Sea otter can float for long because a large lung capacity (approximately 2.5 times greater than terrestrial mammals of similar size) and because the air trapped in its fur.

Sea otters are carnivores & actively foraging in the morning (diurnal). Sea otters are the only marine mammals with claws that catch fish and not with the teeth. Food sea otters is clams, sea urchins, abalone, crabs, fish, starfish, squid and other sea creatures. Sea otters has a unique way to eat. They use their stomachs as a dining table and use stones to crush the shells of its prey. Otters are one of the mammals are capable of using tools.

Sea otters live in cold water, which makes it difficult for them to stay warm. Sea otters must eat at least 25% of their body weight each day. To meet the needs of eating, sea otters need to eat every 3 hours.

Most of the water needs are met through food or sometimes sea water. As a form of adaptation, sea otters have relatively large kidneys to salt levels in the body is not excessive.

Sea otters live in coastal waters with a depth of 15-23 m.

Life Cycle
Sea otters tend to rest together in groups of one sex are called rafts. A rafts usually consists of 10-100 beaver. In order not to drift while resting & eating, sea otters often wrap themselves with seaweed.

Sea otters is a polygamist (males have many female partners). Marriages occur in the water, the male bites the female snout (often leaving scars) and sometimes a female head held under water.

Pregnancy sea otters is 4-9 months. The birth usually occurs in the water and produce a child (1.4 to 2.3 kg). The possibility of the birth of twins is very small (2%), and usually only one that survived. Unlike many mammals, sea otters are born with open eyes. Newborns are equipped with 10 teeth and a thick fur coat that can directly be used to float. These feathers will gradually be replaced by adult fur after about 13 weeks.

Just like other marine mammals, water, sea otters milk rich in fat. Female parent usually hold their babies while floating in water. When feeding, the mother will leave her floating above the water and wrapped in seaweed so as not to float. Female parent will keep the baby up to 4-12 months. Otters are usually self-teens when age 6-8 months.

Sea otters will be ripe & ready to marry after the age of 3-4 years for females and 5 years for males. In the wild, sea otters can live up to a maximum age of 23 years, with average life span of 10-15 years for males and 15-20 years for females.

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