This is an old webpage carried forward to our new site. Please note that some of the information might be out of date and we probably have newer footage.
The sea otter is one of nature’s most charming creatures. With its long whiskers, thick fur, big paws, and playful social nature it makes for entertaining watching. However, the fur was almost its undoing. Sea otters were hunted almost to the point of extinction for their thick fur. Sea otters can now be found along the Pacific Coast from Alaska to southern California as well as in the western Pacific ocean.
The sea otter is considered a keystone species by many as its feeding on sea urchins and shellfish help to keep those populations in check. Were it not for the sea otter these marine invertebrates could cause extensive damage to kelp beds. Many other species, such as gulls, also benefit from the leftovers of sea otter feeding.
The sea otter is famous for its use of tools, specifically, for using rocks to break open mollusks and for tieing itself up in kelp to keep it from floating away while its sleeping. Its playful and resourceful nature suggests a very intelligent animal.
Filming Sea Otter Stock Footage
Filming sea otters is not hard is much less difficult than it once was thanks to the amazing recovery of the species. A good telephoto lens is extremely helpful as the otters may be several hundred yards or more from shore. Fortunately, they are in the open ocean so low light is usually not an issue. One aspect of sea otter behavior that is difficult to film is the animals using rocks to crack open oyster, clam, and other shellfish. That’s because the animals usually do it as soon as they surface so the camera operating needs to quickly locate the animal, get the proper zoom, and focus.
Of course us good ethics when filming sea otters. If you’re on shore, which is best for many reasons including that you have a stable support, you’re unlikely to get too close. But people in kayaks and boats need to keep the proper distance or the authorities will fine you.