Sea Otter
Enhydra lutris

The Minnesota Zoo is home to three sea otters—Capers, Jasper, and Rocky.  They were each found as orphaned pups in the wild and were cared for at the Alaska SeaLife Center before coming to Minnesota.

Where They Live:
Sea otters live in cold waters off the coasts of Russia and North America from Alaska to California.

What They Eat:
These marine mammals love seafood such as sea urchins, fish, clams, snails, worms, sea stars, crabs, squid, octopus, and abalone.

Test Your Knowledge! (answers below)

  1. How thick is a sea otter’s fur?
    • a. One hundred hairs/square inch    b. One thousand hairs/square inch       c. One million hairs/square inch
  1. A group of sea otters is called a…
    • a. raft        b. colony       c. herd           d. school

Answer each of the following questions with True or False:

  1. Sea otters store food in cheek pouches.
  2. Sea otters can stay underwater for up to 5 minutes.
  3. Sea otters smash shellfish against rocks so they can get at the meal inside.

Fun Fact!

Unlike other marine mammals, sea otters do not have blubber to keep warm. Instead they rely on their dense fur—as they groom their fur, air gets trapped under the fur and gets heated by the body to provide insulation. The tiny trapped air bubbles also gives otters a silvery appearance underwater.

Sea otters eat 25-30% of their body weight each day in seafood. Download this activity sheet to see how that compares to how much food you eat every day.