Six fascinating facts about sea otters  - Oceana Canada
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September 21, 2023

Six fascinating facts about sea otters 

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Sea otters are amazing marine mammals known for their playful behaviour and incredible adaptations  – not to mention their cute faces! Ever wanted to learn more about these incredible creatures? For Sea Otter Awareness Week, we are highlighting six awesome facts about them.  

Image: Laura Hedien

1. Remarkable Fur: Sea otters have the densest fur of any animal, with 600,000 to 1,000,000 hairs per square inch! Their fur provides insulation against water temperatures, helping them maintain their body heat in chilly ocean environments. 

2. Floating Rafts: Sea otters often gather in groups called “rafts.” These rafts can consist of hundreds of otters holding hands to stay connected. Rafting helps them stay safe from predators and facilitates social interactions. 

Image: Kedar Gage

3. Tool Users: Sea otters are one of the only animals aside from humans that are known to use tools. They use rocks and other hard objects as makeshift anvils which they place on their chest to crack open shellfish, such as clams and mussels. 

4. Big Appetites: Sea otters have massive appetites and can eat up to 25 per cent of their body weight in a single day. Their diet mainly consists of marine invertebrates like sea urchins, crabs and clams. 

Image: iStock

5. Constant Grooming: Sea otters spend a significant amount of time grooming their fur. They use their paws to clean and fluff it, keeping it buoyant and trapping a layer of insulating air close to their skin. 

6. Superb Swimmers: Sea otters are excellent swimmers and can dive to depths of up to 91 meters. They can hold their breath for several minutes and use their webbed feet and strong tails for propulsion. 

Image: Meno Schaefer

These amazing facts highlight the unique behaviors that make sea otters an essential and captivating part of the marine ecosystem. Would you like to learn more about the incredible creatures that call the Canadian coast home? Sign up to be a Wavemaker today at