This cute, but smart, mammal can be found in the coastal waters of the northern Pacific. They rarely come ashore and instead float on their backs, using their chest as a table whilst they attempt to pry open shells and other small meals they catch. Unlike other marine mammals who rely on blubber, sea otters use their fur to keep warm in the water. Their reddish-brown coat is the densest of any mammal, consisting of around 100,000 hairs per cm² (1).

Sadly, these amazing creatures are endangered. An intensive commercial fur trade, from 1740 until about 1900, resulted in the sea otter being harvested almost to extinction. The species has since recovered slightly, but human activities, especially coastal development and marine pollution, now pose a threat to the sea otter (2).

This information is adapted from where you can learn more.

Limited edition prints, as well as the original of this painting are available on my Etsy shop.

© 2014 Ashley P. Halsey