Sea Otters

Sea otters are so very cute
you cannot say just when
you ever got acquainted
and fell in love with them.

Sea otters are so darling
we’d like to take them up
and hold them in our hands
even little pups.

Unlike their cousins on the land,
they always live at sea
and have a little flipper
on each of their back feet.

The otters in Alaska
are larger and more strong
than those in California
who barely get along.

You may often find them
offshore in kelp,
where clams and urchins are
the otters eat themselves.

Kelp is seaweed urchins eat
growing in the sea.
Otters eat the urchins
as ever seems to be.

Sea otters like sea urchins:
urchins like the kelp.
They are in a relation
just like another self.

They get a rock or shell
and go up to the top
and floating on their back
crack the hard spines off.

Then they eat the urchin
or it may be a clam
in their seafood diet
which they get by hand.

There’s a happy otter
floating on his back
with clams upon his stomach,
ready for a snack.

After he is finished
he rolls a couple times
to wash himself in water
after he has dined.

Sometimes fish below
wait till he is thru
to catch some little bits
for their dinner too.
And sometimes a seagull
will do the same thing too.

If they have a handy stone
that they really like
they put it in their armpit
to use another time.

They can live their whole life
and never come to land.
Even young are born
in the sea at hand.

The pups are born at sea
and there is usually one.
The mother grooms and nurses it
as long as it is young.

It sleeps within her arm
and she’s affectionate
but fights if it’s disturbed,
for her offspring yet.

When the otter sleeps
he floats upon his back
and sometimes wraps some kelp around
so it will held him fast
and he won’t float away….
and not know where he is, alas.

When otters float together
it is called a raft.
There are many in them,
from fore unto the aft.

Males float together
in the largest rafts.
Female rafts are smaller
where they float and chat.

In Alaskan male rafts
2,000 have been seen
but in California
100 is the mean.

They also groom their hair
constantly it seems
to keep them nice and warm
in cold Pacific seas.

It also makes some bubbles
between the many hairs
to insulate them from the cold
and keep the warmth in there.

Otters rarely fight
unless driven to
but they get along
with other otters too.

The otters have few enemies
except the hand of man
who hunted them for fur
to use upon the land.

The fur trade was so mighty
that only few were left
but now we do not hunt them
but otters we protect.

Sometimes males swim
a long, long way away.
One swan 80 miles
and got there in 4 days.

One swan 100 miles
and swan back and forth.
Just why they do this
is unknown of course.

Liquids they do get
from the food they eat
and they get the rest
from drinking of the sea.

An hour after sunrise
they begin to eat
but in the middle of the day
take some time to sleep.

They eat again in afternoon
and at midnight too.
Darkness doesn’t keep them
from doing what they do.

Some orphaned baby otters
Were found along the shore
and sent to manmade nurseries
to be helped the more.

They gave them otter “milkshakes”
with ground squid and clam
and half and half and cod liver oil
and minerals on hand.

They usually recover
and then want to play.
Everybody loves them
and has a glorious day.

They teach them how to get their food
in the otter way
and to crack it open
in Bay of Monteray.

Some are in aquariums
so people there may see
these darling, loving creatures,
these otters of the sea.


Sea Otters - - John A. Love
National Geographic - - June 1995

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