Sea Otter

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A sea otter.

The sea otter (Enhydra lutris) is an otter from the genus Enhydra that inhabits the coasts of the north-eastern Pacific Ocean.


Sea otters are the heaviest otter and the heaviest species of mustelid. They typically have light fur on their heads and very thick dark brown fur on their bodies. Sea otters have the densest fur of any mammal.


The sea otter's range extends across the shores of the northern Pacific ocean in Asia and North America.


There are three subspecies of sea otter[1]:

  • The Southern Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris nereis), which lives on the coast of California,
  • The Northern Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris kenyoni), which lives in Alaska, British Columbia and Oregon,
  • The Asian Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris lutris), which lives in Russia and Japan.


Sea otters live close to the coast, often floating in kelp or seaweed forests.


The sea otter spends the most amount of time in the water, being the only species to even sleep in the water. Sea otters live in large groups close to the shore.

Life cycle

Sea otters' gestation period ranges between 4 and 12 months, and mothers give birth to one pup at a time.[2]




  1. Wilson, Don E.; Bogan, Michael A.; Brownell, Robert L. Jr.; Burdin, A. M.; and Maminov, M. K., "Geographic Variation in Sea Otters, Enhydra lutris" (1991). Publications, Agencies and Staff of the U.S. Department of Commerce. 90.
  2. International Otter Survival Fund: Otter Species Retrieved January 19th, 2022