Sea Otter Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

Sea otters are a furry animal that live mostly in the water. This lesson will teach you about sea otters, the special way they stay warm in cold water, how they live, and some other cool facts about them.

What is a Sea Otter?

You are standing on the shore, looking into the cold, dark ocean, when suddenly you see a group of furry animals that seem to be very relaxed in the icy water. They are floating around on their backs, like you float around in the pool. You notice that they are covered in fur and don't seem to mind the chilly temperature that has you shivering. You are looking at a group of sea otters!

A sea otter is an animal that has very thick, brownish-black fur and lives mostly in the water. They are about four feet long and can weigh up to 65 pounds, making them one of the smallest warm-blooded animals that lives in the water. Some will come on to the shore once in a while, but they can live all their lives in the ocean.

Sea Otter
Sea Otter

A sea otter's fur is thicker than any other animal in the world, with about one million hairs growing on each square inch of their body. Humans only have about 100,000 hairs on their whole head!

Sea otters don't have a fat layer, like whales do, to keep them warm. Instead, their fur traps air, which helps them stay toasty, but they have to keep it clean. If it gets dirty, it can't hold air and they will get too cold and die.

Sea Otter Cleaning its Fur
Sea Otter Cleaning its Fur

What's for Dinner?

Sea otters are carnivores, which means that they eat meat. Some of their favorite menu items include fish, crabs, clams, and octopuses. They dive down into the water, sealing their nose and ears to keep the water out, and catch dinner while diving. They put it under their front arms so they can bring it back up.

Once they are back at the surface, they roll onto their backs and put the food on their stomach, like a dinner plate, so they can enjoy their meal.

Sea Otter Eating a Shellfish
Sea Otter Eating

Just like people, sea otters use tools to help them eat, but these aren't knives and forks. Some of their favorite snacks, like clams, have hard shells that can't be eaten, so sea otters use a rock to crack them open and enjoy the yummy reward.

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