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Wildlife Spotlight: Sea Otter


Just think…if you jumped into Resurrection Bay to see how long you could survive the cold ocean water, it would take roughly an hour before hypothermia started to kick in. At that point, staying in any longer could be fatal!
That is what makes the sea otter such an interesting marine mammal. Most of the marine mammal species living in the deep blue sea have a nice warm layer of blubber to help keep them protected from the frigid cold temperatures of the Pacific Ocean. However, the sea otter is not one of them. They are just like you and me; the main protection they have against the elements is their hair. Very thick hair! The average person has anywhere between 50,000 and 150,000 strands of hair on their head, but the sea otter has roughly 750,000 strands of hair per square inch of their body! Crazy! All that hair helps insulate them as they spend most of their lives in the water.

Sea otters are one of the few mammal species known to use tools. Each sea otter has a pouch that holds a rock the sea otter will use to break and open shells when forging for food.  Sea otters also will sleep out in the open ocean and in order to not drift away by ocean weather or tide currents, otters will often wrap themselves up in kelp or link forepaws with other sea otters to form a raft that will keep them together.

Alaska is considered to be the heartland of the sea otter population. While we obviously can’t guarantee any wildlife sightings on our trips, sea otter sightings are one of our more common viewings at Sunny Cove. If you really want to check out these fascinating creatures, sea otters are most commonly seen near Caines Head on our Caines Head paddle/hike combo or out in the middle of Resurrection Bay on route to any of our Fox Island paddles.

~Danny