Scientific name

Enhydra lutris

Whale SENSE Region Found:


Protection status: Northern Sea Otter

Protected throughout its range

Southwest stock (Aleutian Archipelago, the Alaska Peninsula, and Kodiak Island) – Threatened

Southcentral stock & Southeast stockNot at Risk

Where to watch:

In Alaska, can be found across the Kenai Peninsula and the Gulf of Alaska and the Inside Passage (Sitka, Hoonah, Glacier Bay).

Often found in or near kelp beds.

What to watch for:

Body: Light brown fur on their faces and dark brown fur on the rest of their body. They also have two webbed hind feet and tail to propel them through the water.

Size: Length: Up to 4.5-6 feet, Weight: 70-90 pounds (males), 40-60 pounds (females)

Sea otters in Icy Strait, Alaska

Did you know?

  • Sea otter are the largest member of the weasel family and the smallest marine mammal!
  • Without blubber, sea otters rely on thick, waterproof fur. Each sea otter has over 1 million hairs per square inch on their body! These marine mammals spend a lot of their day grooming their fur!
  • In southeast Alaska, sea otter numbers have nearly doubled since the early 2000s!
  • 90% of the world’s sea otters live in coastal Alaska.

Threats to sea otters