Where Do Sea Otters Sleep?

November 13, 2023

As a mammal, sea otters have to balance their need for rest with other activities like diving, hunting, and surfacing to breath. As a result, they have several activity-rest cycles throughout the day and night to conserve energy and stay safe from predators.

Sleep is important to all animals, and for sea otters it’s an essential part of their aquatic lifestyle. This marine mammal is well-adapted to its aquatic habitat, with webbed feet that allow it to paddle, insulating fur that keeps it dry and warm, nostrils that close in the water, and a waterproof coat.

Sea otters often sleep on their backs while floating on the water’s surface, a position that allows them to rest comfortably while conserving energy. They also spend a significant portion of their time cleaning and grooming their fur, which helps to keep it fluffed with insulating air bubbles.

In the wild, sea otters may sleep alone or in groups. When sleeping in a group, the animals will often entangle themselves in long strands of kelp (a type of seaweed) that act as a natural blanket to help prevent them from drifting away with ocean currents.

Unlike river otters that live in freshwater, which are more solitary, sea otters are social mammals. They form close bonds with their mothers and other females, and when they are not defending their breeding territories, sea otters can often be seen interacting in rafts of two to hundreds of sea otters—males and females, adults, and pups.

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