FWS Focus


Sea otters are a member of the weasel family (Mustelidae) and live in the near-shore waters along the North Pacific Ocean. They are the smallest of marine mammals and are excellently suited to their marine environment with adaptations in their skeletons, teeth, and fur.

Historically, sea otters occurred in near-shore waters around the North Pacific rim from Hokkaido, Japan through the marine coastal areas of the Russian Far East and the Pacific coastal areas in the United States as far south as Baja California. The worldwide sea otter population was drastically reduced to just a few hundred animals between 1742 - 1911, due to commercial harvest by the fur trades.

Click here for information about sea otter conservation in Washington State

Scientific Name

Enhydra lutris kenyoni
Common Name
Northern Sea Otter
Eastern Sea Otter
FWS Category

Location in Taxonomic Tree

Identification Numbers



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