With a relatively large lung capacity for it’s size, an otter can hold its breath for 5 minutes, but most dives are two minutes or less in duration. The pups are very helpless at birth as they are blind until they are about a month old. Male sea otters are very territorial, which leads to the stronger males establishing themselves in areas with high numbers of females. Breeding males defend territories within the female areas, while other males–juveniles and non-breeding adults–occupy the … Female otters can give birth at any time of the … While the males and the females don’t live in the same rafts, they don’t seem to show aggression towards each other when their habitats overlap either. Sea otters were hunted extensively for their luxurious pelts during the 18th and 19th centuries, significantly reducing the original population whose numbers were estimated by historians to have been around 16,000 animals. Sea otters are the exception, giving birth in the water. The pelage is typically deep brown in color with silver-gray highlights, with the coloration of the head and neck being lighter than the body. Males are usually territorial, typically mating with several females in an area that they defend. Males travel much greater distances throughout the range than females, typically making seasonal treks of up to 200 miles between the months of June and November when the highest proportion of females are in estrous. The pups are born in the water on a bed of kelp or in the den. When the pups are about four months old they will be introduced to solid foods. This type of playful activity is one that will also increase her level of hormones being released. The ” spring survey” records the total number of sea otters, the number of dependent pups, and the number of independents (adults and subadults) observed. This system traps a layer of air next to their skin so their skin does not get wet. This type of courting takes place on land. Sea otters are usually dark brown, often with lighter guard h… Although difficult to hear from shore, sea otters exhibit a variety of vocal behaviors. (19.8 kg). Pups begin to dive and forage at about 2 months, although nursing continues until weaning. Pups are the most vocal. No single year’s survey result is indicative of a population change, however. Adults grow to be about 4.5 feet. It takes 4 months for the fetus to fully develop but delayed implantation (of approximately 2 months) almost always occurs. Sea otters are relatively slow swimmers, generally traveling at 3-5 mph (5-8 km/h). Numbers in these male areas tend to increase in winter and spring because there are fewer mating opportunities with sexually receptive females during this time of the year. They have high-pitched calls, which they use to communicate with their mothers. Different to river otters, the female otters would only weigh around 5 kilograms up to 10 kilograms. Fifteen male and 30 female sea otters were instrumented and followed from 1986 to 1990. In expanding populations, which is the case in BC, male sea otters are the first to investigate new, prey-rich areas. In total, otters eat at least 50 species of benthic (bottom-dwelling) invertebrates, although individuals tend to specialize on only a few main prey types. If you travel further north to areas like the Alaskan seaboard, you could even find males weighing up to 100 pounds! Average weight of an adult female California sea otter is about 50 lbs. Research shows that a female Otter may be ready to mate again as soon as she has a litter. Sometimes females drown during mating. How old do sea otters get? Male otters will find a juvenile harbor seal and mount it, as if he were mating with a female otter. The annual southern sea otter census is a cooperative effort between USGS-Western Ecological Research Center, California Department of Fish and Wildlife–Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care and Research Center, Monterey Bay Aquarium, University of California-Santa Cruz, the U.S. The sea otter is one of the smallest marine mammals, but one of the largest members of the family Mustelidae, a group that includes skunks and weasels among others. Wild otters typically have a lifespan between 15 and 20 years. Adult female sea otters weigh 30 - 60 pounds (14 - 27 kg). Unlike most other marine mammals, otters lack a blubber layer. River otters are more petite. The dental formula is I 3/2, C 1/1, P 3/3, M 1 / 2; total 32. Recent studies have shown that fatal white shark bites have increasingly become the leading cause of sea otter mortality in California, a concerning trend that is likely impacting range expansion and population recovery. Along the California coast, females predominate in the central, more established portions of the range. During a grooming bout, which generally occurs directly after a foraging bout (a period of time in which diving and eating takes place) or resting bout, the animal can be seen somersaulting, twisting and turning, and meticulously rubbing its fur at the water surface. The current population of southern sea otters descended from a small surviving group of approximately 50 animals discovered off the Big Sur coastline in the early 1900s. The single greatest threat to the sea otter is an oil spill. Translocated populations have also been established along the coasts of British Columbia in Canada and Washington and Oregon in the United States. Male sea otters live up to about 15 years and females live up to 15-20. A pup can be heard squealing when its mother leaves it to dive for food and often times when a male approaches. The season for mating depends on the region where they live. However, the approval for the mating to take place is given by the female. Different from the male river otters, they could reach a weight of up to around 15 kilograms. When they are encountered by a female the male tries to embrace her or sniff her body. If a faster speed is required, for instance when a male is patrolling it’s territory for competing males or when in hot pursuit of a sexually receptive female, it turns over onto its stomach and in addition to using its webbed hind feet, it undulates its entire body for greater propulsion and acceleration. In fact, at 850,000 to one million hairs per square inch, they have the thickest fur of any mammal. Males defend this territory and try to mate … It has a long, flattened tail which they use as a rudder and for added propulsion. Otters. Past research indicates that possibly fewer than 50% of sea otters that die in the wild wash ashore, so the data presented here at best provide only an index of trends in population mortality. 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