Densest fur in the animal kingdom
Last updated: October 4, 2017 at 3:45 am
The sea otter (Enhydra lutris) – The largest member of the weasel family lives along the North Pacific coasts of Canada and the United States. Sea otters were hunted to near extinction in the 19th century for their pelts which they must constantly preen to keep them filled with tiny insulating air bubbles. Unlike other marine mammals such as seals and sea lions, the sea otter has no blubber. It therefore relies entirely on its exceptionally dense fur (up to 150,000 strands of hair per square cm / ~ 1,000,000 per square in.) to stay warm. A layer of waterproof guard hair keeps the layer of underfur dry.
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Jeffrey Gallant is the Editor-in-Chief and Records Keeper of the Diving Almanac. He is also a contributing editor of DIVER Magazine, and the scientific director of the Greenland Shark and Elasmobranch Education and Research Group (GEERG). Jeffrey started diving in 1982.