How long have otters been alive?

Sea otters – Enhydra lutris – evolved about 2 million years ago, most likely somewhere in the far North Pacific Rim near Japan and Russia.

How otters keep the kelp forest ecosystem stable?

Fortunately, sea otters feed on sea urchins resulting in the preservation of the kelp forests. More kelp forests result in fewer urchin barrens, as well as an increase in the absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and release oxygen back into the air.

How tall is an otter?

The largest river otter is the North American river otter, ranging from 100 to 153 cm (39-60 in.). The smallest river otter is the marine otter, averaging 87 to 115 cm (34-45 in.). The giant otter averages 145 to 180 cm (57-71 in.), with a maximum recorded length of 240 cm (94 in.).

What animal have spots?

Spots allow stealth hunters like cheetahs, which sneak up on their prey, to remain unseen by their future meal until the last possible moment. They also allow prey to hide from predators, especially from far away. Some animals, like deer and tapirs, have spots when they’re born but lose them as they grow.

What animals help clean the environment?

While scavengers eat large quantities of organic matter, smaller animals such as earthworms and sea cucumbers, which are essentially just the earthworms of the sea, also play a role in breaking down organic matter.

What animals help fight climate change?

Five particular species — African elephants, sea otters, tapirs, whales, and wolves — play an even bigger role. As keystone species, these animals are vitally important to their environments and help stabilize our global climate system.

What animals prey on otters?

The otter faces numerous predators in both sea and land, so it must always be vigilant for threats. Its greatest enemies are sea lions, killer whales, great white sharks, bears, and coyotes. Bald eagles are also known to prey on young otter pups.

What are the threats of the southern river otter?

Population threats Southern river otters are threatened by illegal hunting, water pollution, and habitat loss. They were vigorously hunted for their pelts throughout the last 100 years. This is the major cause of their current low population numbers and endangered conservation status.

What are two behavioral adaptations of a river otter?

Behavioral adaptations Like many other mammals, otters make use of sheltered spaces to keep warm. Old beaver lodges are a popular choice. Space under logs or roots or in dense vegetation are sometimes used, as are abandoned burrows of woodchucks or other animals.

What baby animal is called a puff?

Of course a baby puffin is called a puffling! Cute baby animals!

What can otters do?

2 River otters live primarily in freshwater, though they do swim and hunt in seawater. They have visible ears, swim belly down, use webbed feet to paddle, and move swiftly on land and water. Sea otters live exclusively in the ocean along coastlines.

What did an otter evolve from?

Within the weasel family (Mustelidae), otters (Lutrinae) are a recent radiation that originated from terrestrial weasel-like ancestors and evolved into semiaquatic hunters that thrive in freshwater and marine habitats.

What do river otter eat?

River otters eat a variety of aquatic wildlife, such as fish, crayfish, crabs, frogs, birds’ eggs, birds and reptiles such as turtles. They have also been known to eat aquatic plants and to prey on other small mammals, such as muskrats or rabbits. They have a very high metabolism, so they need to eat frequently.

What do river otters do for fun?

Sliding and wrestling, belly flopping, and somersaulting, river otters really know how to play! They take advantage of any slippery slope for fun, whether it’s a summer slide down a muddy hill or a winter thrill on snow and ice. They glide on their bellies with their front paws by their sides.

What does southern river otter eat?

In addition to fish and crustaceans, southern river otters also eat mollusks and birds (Kruuk, 1995).

What does an otter do?

Otters are active hunters, chasing prey in the water or searching the beds of rivers, lakes or the seas. Most species live beside water, but river otters usually enter it only to hunt or travel, otherwise spending much of their time on land to prevent their fur becoming waterlogged.

What ecological role do otters play in the ecosystem?

As top predators, sea otters are critical to maintaining the balance of nearshore ecosystems, such as kelp forests, embayments and estuaries. Without sea otters, sea urchins can overpopulate the sea floor and devour the kelp forests that provide cover and food for many other marine animals.

What ecosystem are sea otters found in?

Sea otters are found in a variety of coastal marine habitats, including rocky shores and sea-bottoms, sandy sea-bottoms, as well as coastal wetlands. Sea otters naturally inhabit offshore areas with an abundance of food and kelp canopy.

What effect do otters have on the environment?

As top predators, sea otters are critical to maintaining the balance of nearshore ecosystems, such as kelp forests, embayments and estuaries. Without sea otters, sea urchins can overpopulate the sea floor and devour the kelp forests that provide cover and food for many other marine animals.

What happened to the kelp forest ecosystem?

Northern California’s kelp forest ecosystem is gone, replaced by widespread “urchin barrens.” Satellite imagery shows that the area covered by kelp forests off the coast of Northern California has dropped by more than 95%, with just a few small, isolated patches of the bull kelp remaining.

What happens to the food web with and without sea otters?

They eat sea urchins and other invertebrates that graze on giant kelp. Without sea otters, these grazing animals can destroy kelp forests and consequently the wide diversity of animals that depend upon kelp habitat for survival.

What is a sea otters ecosystem?

Sea otters are found in a variety of coastal marine habitats, including rocky shores and sea-bottoms, sandy sea-bottoms, as well as coastal wetlands. Sea otters naturally inhabit offshore areas with an abundance of food and kelp canopy.

What is the difference between a sea otter and a marine otter?

The distinction between these two is important: the sea otter will spend its entire life floating in the ocean, swimming, feeding, and reproducing. The marine otter simply lives near the ocean, diving in only to feed.

What is the role of the sea otter in an ecosystem and why are they considered a keystone species?

Sea otters are a “keystone species” which means that they can exert top-down pressure via predation on sea urchins, which are grazers upon kelp. As urchin density decreases from sea otter predation, so does the grazing pressure on kelp and as a result kelp forests flourish in the presence of sea otters.

What kind of effect do otters have on kelp explain why?

Sea otters are a “keystone species” which means that they can exert top-down pressure via predation on sea urchins, which are grazers upon kelp. As urchin density decreases from sea otter predation, so does the grazing pressure on kelp and as a result kelp forests flourish in the presence of sea otters.