Sea Otter Trivia

Sea Otter

Do you think you know the sea otter? Test your knowledge of sea otter FaunaFacts with this trivia quiz!

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Learn More About the Sea Otter | Play on Quizizz


What is the sea otter’s population trend?
Decreasing
According to the Otter Foundation, the California sea otter population declined from July 2008 to July 2011. Estimates suggest a California population of approximately 2,700 individuals.
Increasing
Stable
Unknown

How do sea otters contribute to the ecosystem?
Control Herbivorous Invertebrates
Sea otters are considered a keystone species and play a major role in the community by controlling herbivorous invertebrates. Sea otters prey on sea urchins, thereby preventing sea urchins from overgrazing the kelp forest. This allows the kelp forest to thrive and contributes to an increase in marine diversity.
Prevent Overgrazing of Kelp
Sea otters are considered a keystone species and play a major role in the community by controlling herbivorous invertebrates. Sea otters prey on sea urchins, thereby preventing sea urchins from overgrazing the kelp forest. This allows the kelp forest to thrive and contributes to an increase in marine diversity.
Increase Marine Diversity
Sea otters are considered a keystone species and play a major role in the community by controlling herbivorous invertebrates. Sea otters prey on sea urchins, thereby preventing sea urchins from overgrazing the kelp forest. This allows the kelp forest to thrive and contributes to an increase in marine diversity.
Improve Water Quality

What limits the sea otter’s southern range?
Giant Kelp
The distribution of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) forests limits the southern range to about 22 degrees North latitude.
Temperature
Great White Sharks
Sea Ice

Sea otters are sexually dimorphic.
True, males are larger.
Sea otters display sexual dimorphism as males are larger than females. Males measure 1.2 to 1.5 meters in length, while females measure 1 to 1.4 meters.
True, females are larger.
False

What continents do sea otters inhabit?
Asia
Sea otters are found in two geographic regions around Canada, the United States, and Mexico in North America and around Russia and Japan in Asia.
North America
Sea otters are found in two geographic regions on the Pacific Coast around Canada, the United States, and Mexico in North America and around Russia and Japan in Asia.
Australia
South America

How deep can sea otters dive?
45 m. / 148 ft.
Sea otters are capable of diving to depths of at least 45 meters.
25 m. / 82 ft.
35 m. / 115 ft.
15 m. / 49 ft.

When are sea otter pups weaned?
6 Months
Pups are weaned at around 6 months of age but start to eat solid foods shortly after birth.
1 Month
1 Year
3 Months

What marine habitats do sea otters inhabit?
Neritic
Sea otters inhabit marine neritic and marine oceanic habitats. They can be found in temperate coastal waters with rocky or soft sediment ocean bottom and live in offshore forests of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera).
Ocenaic
Sea otters inhabit marine neritic and marine oceanic habitats. They can be found in temperate coastal waters with rocky or soft sediment ocean bottom and live in offshore forests of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera).
Intertidal
Coastal/Supratidal

What is the sea otter’s mating system?
Polygyny
Sea otters are polygynous, with males having multiple female partners throughout the year.
Polyandry
Monogamy
Polygynandry

How many vocalizations do sea otters have?
9
Sea otters communicate through body contact, scent, and vocalizations, although they are not overly vocal. Researchers have recognized nine vocalizations. Pups use squeals to communicate with their mothers. Other calls include coos, whines, distress screams, growls, snarls, and whistles.
3
6
12

Why do sea otters wrap themselves in kelp?
Prevent Drifting Away
When resting or sleeping, sea otters float on their backs and wrap themselves in kelp to keep from drifting.
Regulate Body Temperature
Keep Afloat
Deter Predators

Sea otters are one of the few mammals that exhibit tool use.
True
Sea otters are one of few mammals that exhibit tool use.
False

How many subspecies of sea otter are recognized?
3
Three regional subspecies of the sea otter have been confirmed and are recognized with distinct geographical distributions.
0
2
5

What is the sea otter’s social system?
Social
Sea otters are social creatures and congregate in groups when resting.
Solitary

How does a sea otter swim?
Vertical Undulation
Sea otters utilize vertical undulations of the body to swim, tucking in the forelimbs and using the hind limbs and tail to control their motion.
Vertical Oscillation
Horizontal Undulation
Horizontal Oscillation

When is the sea otter breeding season?
Year-Round
Sea otters can reproduce year round, though there are peaks of birth in May to June in the Aleutian Islands and in January to March in California.
May-June
January-March
August-October

Sea otter fur is the densest of all mammals.
True
Sea otter fur is the densest of all mammals, with about 100,000 hairs per square centimeter.
False

How do sea otters defend their territories?
Splashing
Many males actively defend their territories. Disputes are usually settled with splashing and vocal displays, and fighting is rare.
Vocal Displays
Many males actively defend their territories. Disputes are usually settled with splashing and vocal displays, and fighting is rare.
Kelp Perimeter
Raising Body Out of Water

Sea otter individuals tend to have what type of diet?
Specialized
Sea otter individuals tend to be specialized in their choice of prey. One otter may consume only urchins and crabs while another may eat mostly fish, depending on the abilities of the individual and local food availability.
General

How does the Asian sea otter differ from other subspecies?
Wider Skull
The Asian sea otter is the largest subspecies and has a slightly wider skull and shorter nasal bones than both other subspecies. Northern sea otters are slightly larger than Californian otters. Adult male northern sea otters weigh 27 to 39 kilograms, while females weigh 16 to 27 kilograms. Adult male southern sea otters average 29 kilograms in mass, while females average 20 kilograms. Northern sea otters possess longer mandibles (lower jaws) while southern sea otters have longer rostrums and smaller teeth.
Longer Nasal Bones
Shorter
Smaller Teeth

What is the sea otter’s diet?
Carnivorous
Sea otters are carnivorous. They will eat nearly any fish or marine invertebrate they can find in their kelp forest foraging grounds. Their diet consists of marine invertebrate herbivores and filter feeders such as sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus and Strongylocentrotus franciscanus), sea stars (Pisaster ochraceus), limpets (Diodora aspera), coast mussels (Mytilus edulis), chitons (Katharina tunicata), and purple-hinged rock scallops (Crassadoma gigantea). Otters also eat crabs, octopus, squid, and fish.
Herbivorous
Omnivorous
Unknown

Sea otter home range size varies by sex.
True, males’ are larger.
Male sea otters have larger home ranges than females. The home range of a male may overlap with that of several females.
True, females’ are larger.
False

Why was sea otter fur coveted?
Density
Sea otter fur was coveted due to its extreme density and insulating quality.
Insulating Quality
Sea otter fur was coveted due to its extreme density and insulating quality.
Color
Softness

What is the sea otter’s evaluation on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species?
Endangered
As of 2020, the sea otter is considered Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
Critically Endangered
Extinct in the Wild
Vulnerable

Where do sea otters store their tools and food?
23 years
Sea otters are long-lived. The maximum estimated lifespan of sea otters is 23 years in the wild.
13 Years
33 Years
43 Years

What is the sea otter’s parental care?
Maternal
Male sea otters do not provide any care for their offspring, but females do.
Paternal
None
Both, Maternal & Paternal

What is the sea otter’s rhythm?
Diurnal
Sea otters are diurnal with crepuscular peaks in foraging activity.
Nocturnal
Crepuscular
Cathemeral

The feces of which animals are threatening sea otters?
Domestic Cat
Parasites and infectious disease contribute to sea otter mortality, specifically Toxoplasma gondii, which infects domestic cats (Felis catus), and Sarcosystis neurona, which infects opossums. These apicomplexan protozoan parasites infect the sea otter and cause encephalitis. It is postulated that cat and opossum feces travel to storm drains via runoff and disposal in toilets, eventually coming into contact with sea otters.
Opossum
Parasites and infectious disease contribute to sea otter mortality, specifically Toxoplasma gondii, which infects domestic cats (Felis catus), and Sarcosystis neurona, which infects opossums. These apicomplexan protozoan parasites infect the sea otter and cause encephalitis. It is postulated that cat and opossum feces travel to storm drains via runoff and disposal in toilets, eventually coming into contact with sea otters.
Domestic Dog
Rabbit

How many offspring can a sea otter raise successfully each year?
1
Only one pup can be raised successfully.
3
2
5

What purpose does the sea otter’s whiskers serve?
Find Food
Sea otters have circular, furry faces with short noses, rounded eyes and ears, and long whiskers that assist in foraging for food. Sea otters use their sensitive whiskers to locate small creatures in the dense kelp beds and crevices.
Detect Water Currents
Assist Swimming
Insulate Body Temperature

What preys on sea otters?
Great White Sharks
Great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) are one of the primary predators of sea otters. Otters are occasionally eaten by coyotes (Canis lantrans) after taking refuge on the sand during stormy weather. Young pups left alone on the surface while their mothers feed beneath the surface are preyed upon by bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). It was once thought that killer whales (Orcinus orca) were responsible for declines in the sea otter population in Alaska, but evidence is inconclusive.
Killer Whales
Great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) are one of the primary predators of sea otters. Otters are occasionally eaten by coyotes (Canis lantrans) after taking refuge on the sand during stormy weather. Young pups left alone on the surface while their mothers feed beneath the surface are preyed upon by bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). It was once thought that killer whales (Orcinus orca) were responsible for declines in the sea otter population in Alaska, but evidence is inconclusive.
Coyotes
Great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) are one of the primary predators of sea otters. Otters are occasionally eaten by coyotes (Canis lantrans) after taking refuge on the sand during stormy weather. Young pups left alone on the surface while their mothers feed beneath the surface are preyed upon by bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). It was once thought that killer whales (Orcinus orca) were responsible for declines in the sea otter population in Alaska, but evidence is inconclusive.
Bald Eagles
Great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) are one of the primary predators of sea otters. Otters are occasionally eaten by coyotes (Canis lantrans) after taking refuge on the sand during stormy weather. Young pups left alone on the surface while their mothers feed beneath the surface are preyed upon by bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). It was once thought that killer whales (Orcinus orca) were responsible for declines in the sea otter population in Alaska, but evidence is inconclusive.

What depth of water does the sea otter prefer?
Shallow
Sea otters prefer coastal waters up to 30 meters deep. The shallower the water, the less time is spent diving to reach food.
Deep

How long is a sea otter’s tail compared to its body?
1/3x
The tail comprises less than a third of the body length, measuring 25 to 35 centimeters, or 10-14 inches.
1x
1/2x
2x

What ocean does the sea otter inhabit?
Pacific
Sea otters are found in two geographic regions on the Pacific Coast.
Indian
Atlantic
Arctic

Sea otter pups can start diving at what age?
2 Months
Pups start diving at 2 months of age.
Birth
2 Weeks
1 Year

How much fat is sea otter milk?
20-25%
Sea otter milk is 20 to 25% fat.
10-15%
30-35%
40-45%

How many mammae does a female sea otter have?
2
Female sea otters have two mammae.
4
6
8

Which sex of sea otter receives face scars from mating?
Female
Sea otter couples engages in playful and sometimes aggressive behavior. The male holds the female’s head or nose with his jaws during copulation. Visible scars are often present on females from this behavior.
Male
Both, Male & Female

A sea otter’s scent can deliver what information?
Identity
Scent is important in recognition and surveying physiological states. Each sea otter has its own distinct scent that conveys identity, age, and sex.
Age
Scent is important in recognition and surveying physiological states. Each sea otter has its own distinct scent that conveys identity, age, and sex.
Sex
Scent is important in recognition and surveying physiological states. Each sea otter has its own distinct scent that conveys identity, age, and sex.
Diet

Sea otters reuse their tools.
True
Sea otters keep the same rock for many dives.
False

How does the sea otter use tools?
Breaks Prey with Rocks
Sea otters break open prey items with hard shells or exoskeletons with a rock. Some otters hold the rock on their chest and drive the prey into the rocks. Others leave the prey on their chests and hit the prey with the rocks.
Covers Face with Sponges
Picks Crevices with Sticks
Exfoliates with Tree Bark

What is the largest subspecies of sea otter?
Asian
The Asian sea otter is the largest subspecies.
Southern
Western
Northern

What is a group of sea otters called?
Bevy
Sea otters congregate in groups known as bevies, families, lodges, rafts, romps, or pods, when resting. Romp is descriptive of their playful nature, while raft is descriptive of their water-floating habits. Sea otters commonly feed in small groups.
Romp
Sea otters congregate in groups known as bevies, families, lodges, rafts, romps, or pods, when resting. Romp is descriptive of their playful nature, while raft is descriptive of their water-floating habits. Sea otters commonly feed in small groups.
Raft
Sea otters congregate in groups known as bevies, families, lodges, rafts, romps, or pods, when resting. Romp is descriptive of their playful nature, while raft is descriptive of their water-floating habits. Sea otters commonly feed in small groups.
Colony

How fast can a sea otter swim underwater?
9 kph / 6 mph
Sea otters can swim as fast as 9 kilometers per hour, or 6 miles per hour, underwater.
6 kph / 4 mph
3 kph / 2 mph
12 kph / 7.5 mph

To how many offspring does a female sea otter typically give birth?
1
A single pup is born weighing 1.4 to 2.3 kilograms.
2
3
5

How many layers does sea otter fur have?
2
The fur consists of two layers: a dark undercoat and longer, lighter-colored guard hairs, which trap a layer of air next to the skin to keep it dry.
1
3
5

Which sex of sea otter reaches sexual maturity first?
Female
Females reach sexual maturity at 4 years of age. Males reach sexual maturity at 5 to 6 years, but may not mate until much later.
Male

What percentage of their body weight do sea otters consume daily?
20-25%
Sea otters consume 20 to 25% of their body weight each day and usually eat 3 to 4 times a day.
10-15%
40-45%
30-35%

Which is the smallest sea otter subspecies?
Southern
Enhydra lutris nereis, the southern sea otter, is the smallest sea otter subspecies.
Asian
Northern
Western

Sea otters are the only carnivores with how many lower incisors?
4
Sea otters are the only carnivores with just four lower incisors.
2
6
8

What is a sea otter’s den called?
Holt
An otter’s den is called a holt or couch.
Couch
An otter’s den is called a holt or couch.
Bevy
Lounge

When was sea otter hunting banned?
1911
Sea otters were hunted to near extinction (1,000 to 2,000 individuals worldwide) at until the turn of the 20th century when the United States, Russia, Japan, and Great Britain reached an agreement in 1911 called the International Fur Seal Treaty, banning the hunting of fur-bearing sea mammals. In 1972, the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act offered further protection by banning capture and harassment of sea mammals.
1972
1925
2011

What is the sea otter’s greatest threat?
Oil Spills
Sea otters are vulnerable to large-scale population declines, with oil spills being the greatest anthropogenic threat. The Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989 had a dramatic effect on the Alaskan sea otter population, killing approximately 5,000 individuals.
Hunting
Climate Change
Invasive Species

What is the sea otter’s lifespan in the wild?
Under Forearms
Sea otters have patches of loose skin under the forearms that they use to help store tools, such as rocks, so they can free up their paws while eating. They also use these loose folds of skin to collect and transport invertebrates during diving.
Under Chin
Between Hind Feet
Entwined in Belly Fur

How long is a young sea otter dependent on its mother?
6-8 Months
The pup typically remains dependent on the mother for about 6 to 8 months after birth.
6-8 Weeks
1 Year
6-8 Days

How long can a sea otter remain submerged?
6 Minutes
Foraging dives usually last 50 to 90 seconds, but otters can remain submerged for nearly 6 minutes.
3 Minutes
30 Minutes
16 Minutes

What is the maximum fine for harming a sea otter?
$25,000
In September 2006, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger passed a law raising the maximum fine for harming a sea otter to $25,000, and required that all cat litter sold in California display a warning label that advises not to dump cat feces down storm drains or in toilets.
$2,500
$250
$250,000

Sea otters have retractable claws.
True
The sea otter’s hind legs are long and the paws are broad, flat and webbed. The forelimbs are short and have retractable claws, which help with grooming and eating. Sea otters use their small, agile forepaws to capture the prey and rub, roll, twist, and pull the prey apart.
False

Twins occur in how many sea otter births?
2%
Twins occur in 2% of sea otter births.
12%
22%
42%

When do sea otters rest on land?
Stormy Weather
Sea otters spend the majority of their time in the ocean, but rest on land when the population density is high or during stormy weather.
High Population Density
Sea otters spend the majority of their time in the ocean, but rest on land when the population density is high or during stormy weather.
Sleeping
Eating

What advantage does delayed implantation offer the sea otter?
Birth During Favorable Conditions
Sea otters are one of several species of mammals that undergo delayed implantation in which the embryo does not implant during the immediate period following fertilization, but remains in a state of suspended growth allowing for birth to occur under favorable conditions.
Multiple Births per Year
Caudal Fetus Orientation
Larger Genetic Diversity

Which sex of sea otters steals food from the other?
Male
Because males steal food from females if they get a chance, females tend to avoid males except when mating and forage in separate areas.
Female

What limits the sea otter’s northern range?
Sea Ice
Sea ice limits the sea otter’s northern range to below 57 degrees North latitude.
Temperature
Killer Whales
Giant Kelp

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