Sea Otter : Characteristics
Enhydra lutris is the Sea Otter, the only truly marine species of otter - they live their whole lives in the water and don't need to come on land for anything.
Chunky balls of fluff
The Giant Brasilian Otter is the largest in the world, but the Sea Otter can sometimes be the heaviest. Typically around four feet long (120cm for females, 130cm for males) they weigh in at up to 77lbs (35kgs) for a male and 55lbs (25kgs) for a female. Basically, they're tubby otters! But they're not blubberly like seals and whales. It's a sea otter's fur which keeps the cold out, and they have the densest fur of any animal - up to 150,000 hairs per square centimetre. In comparison, most humans have around 100,000 hairs on their whole head!
Sea otters have brown fur, although in older specimens the head and chest fur turn a beautiful creamy white. Very distinctive when seen bobbing in the sea.
They have a few distinct differences from other otters, too. Their hind paws have turned almost into flippers, much more like a harbour seal than a river otter. The webbing on their front paws is also more extensive, making them look like furry mittens. And if a sea otter let you peek into its mouth, you'd see the back teeth are crushing molars like ours, rather than the fish-slicing teeth of a river otter.
Sea otters have black, roughly diamond-shaped noses.