More info: Northern sea otters are found in the Aleutian Islands, South Central and Southeast Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington. Southern sea otters, also called California sea otters, live in waters along the California coastline, ranging from San Mateo County in the north to Santa Barbara County in the south.
The sea otter coat is brown or reddish brown. The fur consists of two layers: a dark undercoat and longer, lighter-coloured guard hairs, which trap a layer of air next to the skin to keep the otter warm and dry . Sea otter fur is the densest of all mammals and is responsible for maintaining body heat as it has no layer of insulating blubber. If a sea otter’s fur becomes dirty, it has trouble absorbing the air needed to keep it warm. Therefore, sea otters are obsessive about keeping their fur clean, and groom themselves practically non-stop when they are not eating or sleeping.
The sea otter is the only marine mammal capable of flipping over boulders on the sea floor to search out food. And the only marine mammal to catch fish with its forepaws and not its mouth. It is one of the few mammal species on Earth to use a tool to help feed. It wedges a rock between its chest and the “armpit” of a foreleg and pounds shells against it to open them up. The sea otter also hammers rocks against strongly gripping abalone shells to pry them off of rocks and then eat them.