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This otter is floating on its back.
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Windows Original, adapted from Corel Photography

Otters

Otters are animals that can spend their entire lives in the sea. Otters can come on land, but they don't move very well there! They may just come on land during a storm. Otherwise, they stay in the water, where they are adept swimmers.

Sea otters are dark brown in color. Its hair has the highest density of any animal, and so the otter has its own built-in wet suit which keeps it warm in cold water.

Otters often float on their backs while resting.

Otters feed primarily on fish, but will also eat sea urchins, abalone, clams, mussels and crabs. Once they catch their food, they are often seen preparing the food on their bellies while floating on their backs.

Sea otters don't have many natural predators. However, they are greatly affected by human actions such as oil spills. After the Valdez oil spill alone, over 1,000 otter carcasses were found on shore!


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF