Happy Friday! Here’s an Otter waving his hands in the air like he just doesn’t care.
Keystone species have a dramatic effect on the health of their environment that is disproportionately large relative to their abundance. Sea otters play this role by keeping a check on the population of herbivorous sea-urchins that graze on the kelp forests that in turn support rich and productive marine ecosystems.
This particular Southern Sea Otter was busy feasting on a mollusk until a sea-gull swooped in to grab a taste.
Sea otters’ paw/flipper combo set them aside from other marine mammals and their weasel cousins. Their forepaws are extremely sensitive and dexterous, and have semi-retractable claws. The hind flippers are adapted to life in the sea, and must be capable of a powerful stroke to keep this buoyant animal propelling toward the sea floor. Can you name some of the ways they might use their specialized limbs? Thanks to @nila_129 and @ecoexposurephotography for these beautiful portraits!#paws #animaladaptations
This very special animal is a Southern, or California, Sea Otter (PAUSE...HOW CUTE!!!!) and it is the smallest marine mammal in North America. Unlike other marine mammals which insulate themselves through thick layers of blubber, the Sea Otter has the densest fur in the world. We're talking thick - you probably don't have more than 100,000 hairs on your entire head but these guys have up to 1 million hairs per square inch!! They are what is known as a keystone species, which means they play a critical role in the way their ecosystem functions. They feed primarily on sea urchins and other animals that eat giant kelp. This allows the kelp beds to thrive and provide a hugely rich ecosystem that supports countless plants and animals. Due to their incredibly valuable fur they were hunted close to extinction up until the 1930's. Although there are now over 3,000 living along the central California coast, one large oil spill or sustained environmental pressure could again threaten them with extinction. Our marine ecosystems are delicate, contrary to what a lot of people think, and public education is a key part of ensuring these guys have a sustainable and successful future. Ok, one more time...HOW FREAKIN CUTE!!!!
Tag a friend below that you want to catch up with! 🍻@Redbrickbrewing , Atlanta’s oldest operating craft brewer, & @georgiaaquarium (the largest in the Western Hemisphere) have partnered together to create a new seasonal winter brew, #SeaOtterStout! A portion of the stout’s sales will go towards #GeorgiaAquarium’s southern sea otter research & preservation efforts! I went a few weeks ago to try it out & thought it was awesome! You can find it at the brewery as well as select ATL locations such as Hop City, Green’s, @wholefoods, @Kroger, @Target, & more! #CheerstoConservation