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Transcript of Sea Otters
"Enhydra" - Water
"Lutris" - Otter Related to:
Beavers Full Taxonomy Kingdom: Animalia
Specific Epithet: lutris
Species: Enhydra lutris study of the general principles of scientific classification Range & Habitat Residents to coasts of Northern & Eastern Pacific Ocean:
Preferred habitats/biomes include:
Broad, thick kelp forests
Great barrier reefs Physical Description Known to be the largest animal of Mustelidae family BUT smallest marine mammal.
Males weigh 50-100 pounds & Females weigh 30-75 pounds
What are their physical traits?
Reddish-brown, plush, thick fur
Paw-like, webbed hands
Flipper-like, webbed feet
Broad, flattened tail
Very little blubber for protection
Thick, waterproof fur Fun Fact: Sea otters have roughly 850,000 to one million hair per square inch on their body. Adaptions Sea otter use their feet to reduce or maximize heat loss when water temperatures are too cold. It has a lot of insulating fur to help keep it warm in the water. The tail of a sea otter is plump at the base and as it reaches the tip it flattens, this helps the sea otter to swim at a pace under water. They have been shown to increase or decrease their buoyancy in response to fluctuation in water temperature. Lastly the sea otter has long and sensitive whiskers around their muzzle that can help them find food in dark or murky water. And although not as often, they eat:
Sea otters consume 25-30% of body weight a day Sea otters are carnivores so they consume living prey, such as:
Scallops Diet Sea otters dive to the bottom of shallow coastal waters to catch their prey and reach back to the surface to eat their food. The dives usually last about 1-2 minutes, but they can hold their breath for over 5 minutes. They eat using their front paws and will use tools, such as rocks which they sometimes store under their "arm pits" to crack open shells. Once sea otters comes back up to the surface, they will roll onto their back and place their food on their chest. Sea otter holding a rock Predators Sharks
Humans Birds like eagles can attack smaller otters and the young. Predators Overall Status Endangered Species
Sudden decrease of population due to oil spills
Oil causes sea otter to become hypothermic
Can damage otters' nervous system, affect pregnancy and fetal health, and lower the otters' immune system.
Mutualistic relationship with kelp forest
Maintains kelp forests by keeping sea urchins in check
Actually helped protect the fish populations by eating sea urchins
Reproduction Birth generally occurs above and/or underwater
Give birth to generally one pup, rarely twins
Pups born with thick coat of baby fur to prevent sinking
Pups raised by mothers for 6-8 months
Males live 10-15 years & Females live 15-20 years Reproduction Behavior Males are capable of mating at age five or six, but usually don't become active breeders for several more years. Female sea otters become mature at about four years. Sea otters breed throughout the year. Pregnant Sea Otter A mother with her pups Migration Sea otters do not undergo long distance migrations. They generally remain in a home range that may be few square kilometers up to 40 kilometers. If sea otters do migrate, it is due to the abundance of food and kelp. Questions 1) Approximately how much hair per square inch does a sea otter have? over 850,000 to 1 million per square inch 2) The whiskers of a sea otter is used for what? find food in dark or murky water Males are known to have multiple female partners; however, temporary pair-bonding occurs for a few days between a female and her mate 3) Sea Otter males that mate with 2 or more females are considered as? polygynous Questions for Me? If the sea otter went extinct, kelp forests would fall prey to organisms that damage the kelp, like sea urchins diminishing their number greatly, and making food scarce for organisms that feed on the kelp forests. This will set off a chain reaction. With the otters gone and the sea urchins numbers growing quickly, the kelp beds will start to disappear. Then the fish, with no safe place to spawn, begin to disappear. In just a few years, fishermen will have very little from nothing to fish for. During mating the male grips his teeth onto the female’s nose and also wraps his forelegs around the female’s chest to hang on to her. During the reproduction cycle females get the nickname "Rudolph" because after mating the female’s nose is bloody red. Mating only takes between 15 and 30 minutes. These thirty minutes tend to be very vigorous and intense for both the females and males. Sea otter sleeping