As a keystone species, sea otters are a critical member of the kelp forest ecosystems they live in. They enjoy the freshwater but they are also known to live in the saltwater of the oceans as well. 5. Other places you will find them lingering include around rivers, streams, and lakes. The otter is lithe and slender with short legs, a strong neck, and a long flat tail that helps propel it gracefully through water. Only 13 remnant sea otter colonies existed from Russia to Mexico when the International Fur Seal Treaty, which banned the hunting of sea otters and fur seals, was established in 1911. 7. 3. Where do Sea Otters Live? Otters live in a wide variety of watery locations, from the mighty Amazon to the heart of Singapore. Two species are marine; the others live mostly in fresh water. Approximately 90 percent of the world’s sea otters live in coastal Alaska. Historically, Sea otters could be found from Japan, along the coast of Siberia, down through Alaska, British Columbia and the eastern North American coast. A sea otter snoozes on its back -- showing its hind legs, tail and webbed feet, which make otters great swimmers. Otter, any of 13–14 species of semiaquatic mammals that belong to the weasel family and are noted for their playfulness. A Nova Scotia man is entertaining a family of unexpected and unwelcome guests at his Eastern Shore home — otters. In order to withstand the cold water in which they live, sea otters have the greatest density of fur of any mammal. 1. Unlike their river otter cousins, sea otters spend almost their entire lives in the water, rarely coming onto dry land. Sea otters are a charismatic marine mammal found in the north east Pacific Ocean. But the sea otter’s habitat is unique, as they only live in shallow coastal waters in the North Pacific ocean. Photo by Bob Winfree, National Park Service. Sea otters live only in the Pacific Ocean, and they’re a lot different than the river otters we see along the East Coast. Sea otters use rocks to crack open their prey as fast as 45 blows in 15 seconds. Most sea otters call Alaska home. The longest recorded sea otter dive was 4 minutes, 2 and the deepest recorded sea otter dive was 318 feet (97 m) deep. 1. The sea otter spends most of its time in the water but, in some locations, comes ashore to sleep or rest. Otters are found on every single continent in the world except for Australia and Antarctica. 6. They are foragers, mostly eating hard-shelled invertebrates such as sea urchins. Sea otters eat 25 percent of their body weight each day in sea urchins, crabs, clams, snails and other invertebrates. As predators that are near the top of the food chain, otters are hugely important for keeping their environments balanced. Depending on the location on their body, sea otters can have as many as 170,000-1,000,000 hairs per square inch! Otter Habitat and Distribution. By the 1930s, a small group of 50 to 300 sea otters–a population now known as southern or California sea otters–remained near Big Sur, California.