What adaptations do sea otters have?

Published by Charlie Davidson on

What adaptations do sea otters have?

Sea otters exhibit numerous adaptations which help them survive in their challenging marine environment. Long whiskers help them to detect vibrations in murky waters and sensitive forepaws, with retractable claws, help them to groom, locate and capture prey underwater, and use tools.

How do sea otters help the survival of giant kelp?

By maintaining healthy kelp forests, sea otters also indirectly help to reduce levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, a prevalent greenhouse gas, as kelp absorbs and sequesters carbon.

What is the symbiotic relationship between otters and kelp?

The sea otter and kelp also have a mutualistic relationship. The sea otter eats sea urchins which if there is a large population makes the kelp endangered. Once the kelp dies it floats up and provides the sea otter with a source of food. Since both organisms are benefitting this is an example of mutualism.

What does kelp do for otters?

They provide nourishment to the grazing herbivores that feed on them, such as sea urchins and abalone. In turn, these grazers provide food for predators, such as sea otters and certain species of sea stars like the sunflower star.

Do sea otters ever go on land?

Sea otters, conversely, are found only in salt water and rarely go on land. They even have the adorable habit of floating on their backs, even while they’re eating, and have been known to hold hands with each other while sleeping so they don’t drift apart from their pals!

How deep can a sea otter dive?

To find food, sea otters may occasionally dive as deep as 250 feet and will use their sensitive whiskers to locate small prey inside crevices or their strong forepaws to dig for clams.

What sea animal eats kelp?

Sea urchins
Sea urchins will often completely remove kelp plants by eating through their holdfasts. Other invertebrates found in kelp forests are sea stars, anemones, crabs, and jellyfish.

Do otters eat kelp?

Sea otters eat sea urchins & other invertebrates that graze on giant kelp.

Why are urchin barrens bad?

But there is an economic dimension as well: urchin barrens are bad for the abalone industry and even for the urchin fishery. “It can’t be good for fish populations, since no plants and their associated animal life means no food for the smaller creatures and fish on which bigger fish feed.

Do sea otters wrap themselves in kelp?

Sea otters are known to wrap their pups and themselves in kelp to keep from drifting out to sea. Newborn sea otter pups are so buoyant they can’t immediately dive for food.

How long can sea otters stay on land?

Don’t challenge otters to a breath holding competition. An otter’s lung capacity is 2.5 times greater than that of similar-sized land mammals. Sea otters have been known to stay submerged for more than 5 minutes at a time.

Do sea otters ever get out of the water?

The sea otter can live its entire life without leaving the water. Another underwater superlative: The sea otter is the only marine mammal capable of flipping over boulders on the sea floor—in this case to search out food. And the only marine mammal to catch fish with its forepaws and not its mouth.

Why are sea otters not in the kelp forest?

Sea urchins grazing in large numbers (called herds) can eat away at a kelp forest until there’s nothing left, creating an “urchin barren” — a subtidal area where kelp is almost completely absent. Sea otters and sea stars munch on sea urchins, keeping their populations in check.

How is kelp adapted to the sea floor?

The structure of kelp is very specific to the adaptations of kelp. The kelp is a very large sea weed so its root system or the holdfasts are very strong so it can attach itself to the sea floor when large storms come through the area. The stipe or stem is a very strong stem which grows at a very high rate of speed.

What kind of animals live in giant kelp forests?

Several species eat Giant Kelp, and fluctuating populations of Purple Sea Urchins are known to play a role in kelp forest formation and destruction. Several species of sharks, bony fishes, lobsters, squids, and other invertebrates are known to live in or near kelp forests.

How big can giant kelp grow in one day?

This species is one of the fastest growing species in the world, and under perfect conditions, it has been known to grow up to two feet (60 cm) in a single day. Once and individual giant kelp reaches the sea surface, it continues to grow horizontally, floating in large mats that shade the water column and sea floor below.

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