Counting Sea Otters in Elkhorn Slough

Friday, August 1, 2008
This morning, another local ecological expert and Earthwatch collaborator, Ron Eby, took Dr. Daniela Maldini and our team on a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) boat ride up Elkhorn Slough, as far inland as Kirby Point. We counted over 45 otters and noted their activities. Most of them were foraging and grooming themselves. There were also harbor seals and a huge number of birds that we had not seen earlier along the Monterey Bay coastline. Ron, who knows local and migrating birds well, identified Great Blue Herons, Cormorants, Red-Throated Loons, Brown Pelicans, Snowy Egrets, Cranes, Herons, Willets, Whimbrels, Marble Godwits, Long-billed Curlews, Greebs, and Brandts. I'll download my photos tomorrow and they will be on view in the Elkhorn Slough photo gallery.

One thing I keep noticing is that there really are so many similarities between the things that otters like to do and the things that children like to do

Let me know which of these otter favorites happen to be your favorites too! Otters love to:

Relax together in the warm sunshine;
Learn new tricks from their friends;
Eat tasty treats;
Make bath-time fun;
Sleep in cozy beds (their beds are in the beautiful underwater kelp forests);
Play with their families; and
Roll and dive in the water.

Fun Otter Fact #5a
When female sea otters grow up, each year they give birth to one baby otter, called a pup. Sea otter pups squeal for their mommies, just like regular babies. After all, we are all mammals, so we cant be too different, right?

Fun Otter Fact #5b
Sea otters who leave Elkhorn Slough and enter Monterey Bay find safe places to sleep by wrapping their bodies in the tall kelp plants that grow underwater. They do this so that they will not float away from their home and families, as ocean currents pass by while they are sleeping. The kelp forests are the otters cozy, safe bed. When you say good night to your family and snuggle into your bed, you can think about the sweet, friendly sea otters tucked safely into the soft, see-through green grasses of Monterey Bay, who are all saying goodnight to their families too!
You may want to join this group of sea otter lovers to learn more about these furry ocean mammals!







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