Facts & References
- Sexual maturity: males - 6 years; females - 4 years.
- Length of pregnancy (gestation period): 6 to 9 months - can be longer if “delayed implantation” occurs. This is when the egg is fertilized, but doesn’t implant into the uterine lining right away. Instead, the fertilized egg enters a state of “suspended animation” for up to three months.
- Pupping season: spring and early summer, but may occur throughout the year.
- Length: males - 1.5 m; females - 1.4 m;
- Weight: males - up to 45 kg; females - up to 32.6 kg.
- Average life span: males - 10 to 15 years; females - 15 to 20 years.
Did You Know?
- A healthy sea otter’s skin never gets wet because their fur is so dense.
- River otters, weasels, and badgers are sea otter relatives (Family Mustelidae).
- Sea otters dive frequently for food; a typical dive is 30 m deep and lasts 45-127 seconds.
- Large complex kidneys make it possible for sea otters to drink a bit of salt water, although most of their fresh water intake comes from their food.
- Predators include killer whales, sharks, and sea lions: bald eagles prey on pups.
- They are one of the few tool-using mammals; sea otters use rocks to break open their food.
Meet The Otters At The Vancouver Aquarium
"Elfin" was an orphaned sea otter from Alaska, born in 2000. He weighs around 36 kg and eats 7 kg of fish fillets, crabs, squid and clams.
"Katmai", another orphaned sea otter from Alaska, is the youngest sea otter at the Aquarium. She joined the Aquarium in the spring of 2013. She is named after a national park in coastal Alaska.
"Tanu", also an orphaned sea otter from Alaska. She was born July 12, 2004. Weighing around 26 kg, she eats 5 kg of fish fillets, crabs, squid and clams.
"Walter/Wally" was found as an injured adult sea otter in Tofino, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. He had been shot by a shotgun and suffered extensive injuries as a result. After receiving critical care at the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre Wally is now a healthy sea otter who would not survive in the ocean and has come to find a home at the Vancouver Aquarium. We estimate him to be over 10 years old.
Visit our Sea Otter Cam
A Note About Nyac & Milo the famous YouTube "Hand Holding" Otters
"Milo" We’re very sad to share that Milo, our 12-year-old male sea otter, passed away on January 11, 2012. Milo was diagnosed with lymphoma in August of 2011. Our animal care staff, led by Dr. Martin Haulena, collaborated with veterinary specialists, including oncologists, internists, aquatic animal veterinarians and pathologists around the world to develop a unique chemotherapeutic treatment plan for Milo – who was the first otter in the world to be treated with chemotherapy. Despite the terrific efforts of our veterinary team, he passed away peacefully surrounded by his friends at the Aquarium.
"Nyac" a long-time resident and one of the last surviving sea otters from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill died on September 23, 2008. During her 20 years of life, she won the hearts of the visitors, members, volunteers and staff of the Aquarium as they learned about sea otters and the issues that face them in our waters. She was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia a few days before her death. This disease has not been previously reported in sea otters, but there is some association of it with contact with petroleum in other species. So even in death, she’ll continue to provide vital information on the long-term effects of oil exposure.