Sleepy Otters Adorably Nap Together Off Alaskan Dock
Most of us do not even suspect how much we owe these charming creatures. Appart from the joy they bring to the viewers of the video at the top of the page, we can be thankful to them for many other reasons.
First, sea otters are the cornerstone of the food chain, which allows us to preserve our environment. Without them, the animals that feed on otters would eat the thickets of kelp in the Pacific Ocean at an alarming rate. Without kelp, in turn, the ocean and air would quickly fill up with all the extra carbon dioxide that these algae absorb. Thus, we can breathe only because the sea otters are hungry. Let us be grateful to them.
Second, sea otters are happy owners of the thickest fur among all representatives of the animal kingdom. More precisely, they have from 250 thousand to a million hairs at 6.5 cm2. This coat is their only protection against the cold because unlike other marine animals, otters do not have a thick layer of fat. But, this beautiful fur brought them trouble. Historically, otters are the main target of fur hunters. Unrestricted hunting in the 1900s reduced their number from more than a million to just a few thousand. Thanks to careful efforts to preserve the population of these animals, today their number reaches about 106 thousand all over the world. But this figure is not great either.
Third (and coming back to our adorable heroes in the video above), sea otters are secretive and timid animals that lead a daily life (although periodically the otter can be active at dawn and dusk). They spend up to 70% of their lives in water, while hunting for food and eating. Sea otters are one of the few species that use nearby objects as toys or tools. They know how to use a stone as a hammer. In the summer when these animals spend almost all of their time in the water, the way they sleep is incredibly touching. The cubs sleep at the mother's breast, gently touching her chin with their head, and the adult sea otters keep their paws behind clasped with one another. Of course, this is not love at all, it is a necessity - while the animal is asleep, it can be transported far by the sea current. But look how cute this sleeping on your back looks! Sea otters like to rest, swimming on their backs and thus forming something like a living raft comprised only by individuals of the same sex. To prevent the current from separate them, they all clasp their paws. The male’s otter "rafts" are usually larger than female’s. The largest ever seen consisted of 2,000 sea otters. If the animal hunts alone and takes a nap to rest it would wrap itself in seaweed, and then calmly fall asleep in this original "cocoon".
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