Where Do Sea Otters Sleep at Night?

November 17, 2023

You might know that sea otters are playful and energetic during the day, but just like everyone needs beauty sleep, these cute marine mammals need to rest their weary bodies. So, where do sea otters find their peaceful slumber? Read on to discover some of the interesting places they slumber in the ocean.

Kelp Forests

One of the most common places where you can find sea otters at night is in kelp forests, which are natural underwater habitats with thick kelp fronds and anchor-like holdfasts that connect them to the rocky substrate below. Sea otters often entangle themselves with the kelp fronds as they sleep, which helps them to stay in place and prevent them from drifting away during rough sea conditions. They also use the kelp to help protect them from predators, who might be lurking in the dark waters of the kelp forest.


On occasion, you might see sea otters sleeping on sandy beaches, especially during the pupping season. While this type of sleeping location is not as common as the kelp forests and rocky reefs, it is still an important part of their ecosystem.

When sea otters sleep on the beach, they usually assume a curled-up position with their heads resting on their chins. They might stick their forepaws in the air or fold them on their chest, and they typically leave their tails on the water surface to help maintain their posture and balance. They are able to remain motionless for at least 20 seconds, which is what scientists call quiet sleep. However, they might experience multiple episodes of paradoxical sleep in which their heads, paws, and even whole bodies will twitch and jerk.


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