Sea otters, rightfully, come under the category of keystone species. This is because they play a pivotal role in maintaining the ecological community of their surroundings. Also, they are North America’s smallest marine mammals, while belonging to the weasel family. In fact, they are natives of the North Pacific Ocean’s Northern and Eastern coasts. Further, they can walk on land, but mostly spend their time in water. Besides, you will witness that they hunt alone but rest in groups.
Normally, adult sea otters weigh in the range of 14 and 45 kg that makes them the weasel family’s heaviest members. Other than that, sea otters have a thick coat of fur that is the densest among the animal species. More so, their fur can have up to a million hairs per square inch that trap the air and offer insulation benefits. In turn, the sea otters can survive and remain afloat in the cold Ocean waters for long hours.
As mentioned earlier that sea otters are found predominantly in water. Well, but do you know what keeps them from drifting away with the strong water currents, while they eat and rest for long durations in the water? Kelp forests. Indeed, they wrap themselves in the floating strands to remain in place. Moreover, they sleep on their backs and hold hands with other sea otters. The purpose is, again, to prevent the animals from drifting away.
Nonetheless, sea otters play a significant role in maintaining the neighboring marine ecosystem. They do so by feeding on invertebrates (like sea urchins) that pose a threat to kelp forests. For this reason, they are revered as keystone species. And just like removing a keystone from an arch can have disastrous results, the removal of the sea otters can have an adverse effect on the Ocean’s ecological structure.