Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sea Otters at Morro Bay, California

Sea Otters are the first of the wild mammals I hoped to see on my big adventure and I was certainly not disappointed. I was at Morro Bay, California at the base of Morro Rock when I took these photos.  I read that they rest together in single-sex groups called rafts such as this small one below.  They wrap themselves in kelp to keep from drifting out to sea and we did spot one laying in the middle of a kelp bed when we went whale watching.  At first it looked tangled up but today I read that was on purpose.

They are famous for their use of tools but did you know that under each foreleg there is a loose pouch of skin extending across its chest where otters stores a rock and food to bring to the surface and then eat while floating on its back. That pouch business was new to me. Then they roll over to clean off the table and down they go to lift and turn over rocks looking for desert (they are the only marine animal capable of this).

They don't have blubber to keep them warm and rely on thick fur with long waterproof guard hairs and short underfur to keep them dry. Sea otters spend much of their time grooming, which consists of cleaning their fur, untangling knots, removing loose fur, rubbing their fur to squeeze out water and blowing air into the fur to help keep them buoyant. This one came over and I'll interpret, said, "Hello, are you hear for the Otter talk and grooming demonstration?  We will begin in a few minutes when your friends have gathered around."

"Let us begin, I start with the grooming and end with the bubble blowing.  You can see it is loads of fun so we do it quite often."

"Have nice day, bye now."


Woodswalker said...

Oh, I am so jealous! Otters are so adorable! Thanks for the photos, video, and fascinating information.

Potomac Valley Nature Writing Group Reading List said...

Funny how certain species just seem to have "buoyant" personalities!