You otter know: It’s Sea Otter Awareness Week!

Well, would you look at that … it’s the 10th anniversary of Sea Otter Awareness Week (Always the last week in September, this year from September 23 – 29)! These adorable creatures that have won the world over with their talent for holding hands while sleeping in the water, play a vital role in the coastal ecosystem. In California, sea otters are important for maintaining the sea urchin population among the kelp forest communities. However, I’ll be honest – I had to sit back and ask myself what makes a ‘sea otter’ a sea otter and a ‘river otter’ a river otter (besides, of course, where they might reside). Below is a quick synopsis of what I discovered (HINT: If you see one near a den = river otter). Find some more fascinating facts about sea otters here.

Sea otter image (c) tomstick.com, river otter image (c) local.brookings.k12.sd.us

Sea otter image (c) tomstick.com, river otter image (c) local.brookings.k12.sd.us

What is the fastest marine mammal?

The 2012 Summer Olympics are less than 10 days away and with this comes lots of intense swimming competitions (among other events). This got me wondering, if I lined up various species of marine mammals which one would be taking home the gold? Check out the average top speeds of 10 species in the graph below. (Now time to get the image of an orca wearing a Speedo out of my mind.)

Resources:

1. http://www.speedofanimals.com/water
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porpoise
3. http://marinebio.org/oceans/marine-mammals.asp