Hello Otter

A sea otter watches us in Valdez Harbor. These guys are so curious, playful, and absolutely adorable! The largest member of the weasel family, the sea otter is one of the smallest marine mammals, but can weigh as much as 100 lbs (45 kg)!

Sea otters don’t rely on fat or blubber for insulation from the cold water but rather on their dense, heavy fur (up to 150,000 strands per square inch). Because of this, they spend a lot of time grooming and cleaning their fur. This necessary fur density also makes them susceptible to oil spills. Thousands were killed in Prince William Sound after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. Luckily, their numbers in the area have made a strong recovery [1].

While sea otters live much of their life alone while foraging, they typically rest together in social rafts. In Valdez, we’ll often see solitary otters feeding on shellfish and octopus near the docks and floating in their rafts further out in the harbor. They are definitely calming to watch!

CameraNikon NIKON D7100 (Current model NIKON D7500)
LensNikon 200-500mm f/5.6E ED AF-S VR
Focal Length500.0 mm (750.0 mm in 35mm)
Exposure Time0.0004s (1/2500)

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