5 facts (and photos) about sea otters

Sea Otter Awareness Week runs from Sept. 22 - 28.

September 22-28 is Sea Otter Awareness Week, an annual event in recognition of the role that sea otters play in their ecosystem.

In honour of it, here are five photos (and facts) about sea otters.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

Sea otters sleep while floating in the water, sometimes, they'll entangle themselves in seaweed to prevent floating away or they'll link feet with another otter.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

Approximately 90 per cent of the world’s sea otters live along the Alaskan coast.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

Otters are a “keystone species," because they play a vital role in their local ecosystems.

Along the Pacific coast, for example, sea otter prey on sea urchins, helping to keep the population under control.

In California, they control crab populations, which introduces more algae-eating slugs into the area and promotes the growth of lush seagrass.

Otters use rocks as tools to help open prey with hard shells.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

They were once hunted to near-extinction for their fur.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

Now a protected species, sea otters still face extensive threats due to pollution, habitat destruction, and pesticide runoff.