Why Sea Otters Hold Hands & Wrap Pups in Seaweed

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Sea otters cannot even swim on their own when they are born. In the wild, a mother otter takes her pup everywhere to protect and educate her baby. Birth usually takes place in the water and typically produces a single pup weighing 1.4 to 2.3 kg (3 to 5 lb). Twins occur in 2% of births; however, usually only one pup survives.

Sea otters will form a “raft” to prevent them from drifting out to sea while sleeping. Photo Michael Jay
At birth, the eyes are open, ten teeth are visible, and the pup has a thick coat of baby fur. Mothers have been observed to lick and fluff a newborn for hours; after grooming, the pup’s fur retains so much air, the pup floats like a cork and cannot dive. The fluffy baby fur is replaced by adult fur after about 13 weeks.

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