Featured Image Credit: John Michael Darrin
By: Kira Krall
Recently, a drone hobbyist caught some stunning footage of Monterey Bay, California. The beauty alone is enough, but this drone caught some views of one of the Bay’s cutest residents! We encourage you to watch the whole video, but skip to 50 seconds if you’re too excited to see the sweet surprise.
The sleeping pup in the video is likely snoozing while mom’s foraging for invertebrates and other kelp-gobbling invertebrates. Left unchecked by our favorite mustelid, the invertebrates would consume all of the kelp, destroying habitat for dozens of species and taking away the kelp barrier that protects the California coast.
We’re seeing a bird’s eye view of the bull kelp forest that blankets the nearshore environment. It can grow up to 60 feet long and uses gas-filled floats to stay near the top of the water column to get all the light it needs to photosynthesize. The first two months of the otter pup floating languidly among the kelp were spent on mom’s stomach. It became a more independent otter once she taught it her top-notch swimming skills.
California (Southern) sea otters spend just about their entire lives in the water and even give birth within the waves. They’re great swimmers and even better floaters. Because oily fur tends to let more water in than clean fur, sea otters devote a good portion of their day to grooming. Our furry friend also displays A+ rolling technique, which traps bubbles in an otter’s pelt and makes them way more buoyant.