Here’s a little bit of mid-week happiness: sea otters!
We were wandering the piers at the Seward small boat harbor when we saw three dark objects floating motionless in the water. They were so still that Dale thought they were logs. I suspected they were sea otters, but my thoughts went to a darker place. Were they dead?
Not to worry. As we got closer, we saw that they were just resting.
Shhh… They’re sleeping.
Look at the way they sleep, with their arms folded under their chins. It’s painful how cute they are.
They woke up as we approached but weren’t at all concerned about our presence.
We stood and watched them for a while.
In addition to snoozing, they spent a great deal of time grooming.
They spun and twirled and scratched their faces.
And sometimes they put their paws up to their mouths like they’d just said something naughty.
We watched the fellow (or gal) in the video below twirl and twirl and twirl for at least 6 minutes (I know because I took 6 minutes of video of him doing just that). Here’s a shorter video that Dale took:
He never stopped whirling the entire time that we watched him. It was like he’d had too much caffeine. What a furry little dervish! I asked the marine mammal expert at the Alaska SeaLife Center if this was a grooming behavior, and he said that, yes, spinning through the water mimics a washing machine, cleaning dirt or food bits from the fur. Sea otters also fluff out their fur by blowing air on and into it, and since they rely on their thick coats, and not blubber, to stay warm, fluffy fur is critical.
Because we humans we want to create human narratives about animals, Dale and I decided that the otter at the bottom of the photos below must be mom, and the other two are her children.
After a long day of spinning and eating and spinning and eating, she’d just put the kids to bed:
But one of them had no interest in going to sleep:
Mom threatens to ship ’em off on the next freighter to Japan, and so they settle down:
But not for long.
Of course, if you watch the video I shot at the same time Dale took pictures, you’ll see that reality is nothing like the story we spun:
And “mom”? Turns out she’s a he. I’ll just leave it at that.
We had so much fun watching the daily routines of these adorable sea creatures. When I think about these little guys performing their otter antics, I smile. I hope you enjoy them just as much as we did!