- Describe a sea otter.
- Where do sea otters live?
- What kinds of other animals share the sea otters’ habitat?
- What might threaten sea otters?
- What is causing the rapid loss of sea otters in Alaska?
- What caused the loss of sea otters along the coasts of Washington State and Oregon?
- Why have sea otters been compared to teddy bears?
- How do the otters keep warm?
- What is kelp and why is it important?
- What do sea otters eat?
- Explain how the otter population in Washington has changed from 1970 to now.
- What other animals might be considered “keystone species”? Why?
- Why don’t scientists kill sea urchins to help maintain the kelp population?
- Why isn’t the sea otter population now growing as fast as it once was in Washington?
- Imagine that you are a marine biologist. What questions would you want to answer about sea otters? Why do you find those questions interesting?
- Why do you think sea otters have done better in Washington State than in other areas, such as Oregon and Northern Mexico, where the animals once lived?
- Look in the library and on the Internet to learn what animals live in a kelp forest.
- Imagine that you are applying for money to study sea otters. Write a letter explaining why an organization should give you money for your work. What would you hope to find out? Where would you go? What would you do?
- Imagine that you are on a hunting ship long ago when there were many sea otters. Describe your experience. Look for historical information that might make your narrative more interesting.
- Approximately how much have sea otter populations increased from 1969-70 to today? Express the amount as a multiple of the imported population and as a percentage.
- If you ate 25 percent of your body weight daily, as otters do, how many quarter-pound hamburgers would you eat every day? How many burgers do you think you would eat in a day, if that was your only food? What percentage of your weight would those burgers represent?