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Marine Fissipeds

There are only a handful of ocean mammals that don't fall into the category of Pinniped or Cetacean, but rather classified as a Marine Fissiped.

Polar bears are large carnivorous mammals found in the Arctic. They are known for their thick white fur and their ability to survive in the harsh Arctic environment. They are the largest land carnivore and their diet primarily consists of seal.

Sea otters are marine mammals found along the coastlines of the North Pacific Ocean. They have dense fur to keep them warm in cold water and they are known for using tools, such as rocks, to open their food. Sea otters were once heavily hunted for their fur, and their populations have not fully recovered, and they are considered as a threatened species.

Polar Bear and Cubs Clickable
Photo by Hans-Jurgen Mager on Unsplash
Sea Otter Clickable
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Marine fissipeds vary greatly in size and appearance depending on the species. For example, polar bears are the largest land-based predator in the world, with adult males reaching up to 2.4 meters (8 feet) in length and weighing up to 600 kg (1,320 lbs).

Sea otters, are smaller, with adult males reaching up to 1.2 meters (4 feet) in length and weighing up to 45 kg (100 lbs). Both polar bears and sea otters have thick fur or blubber that helps them stay warm in the cold ocean water. Polar bears have sharp claws that are used for hunting and climbing on ice, while sea otters have webbed front paws that they use to swim and they have hind paws that they use to walk on land.

Polar bears are found in the Arctic regions of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Norway, and Russia. They primarily inhabit areas with sea ice, such as coastal areas and offshore islands. Sea otters are found along the coasts of Alaska, Canada, Russia, and California. They prefer to live in areas with kelp forests or rocky shores, where they can use the kelp to anchor themselves while they sleep and eat.

Polar bears are carnivorous and primarily eat seals, although they will also eat walruses, fish, and other marine mammals if available. Sea otters are opportunistic predators and their diet mainly consists of marine invertebrates such as clams, crabs, urchins, and snails.

Polar bears are solitary animals that spend most of their time hunting and traveling alone. Sea otters are social animals that live in groups called rafts. They are active during the day and spend most of their time in the water.

 Both polar bears and sea otters are known to communicate with one another through vocalizations, as well as through scent marking.

Polar bears are scientifically known as Ursus maritimus, and are a member of the family Ursidae (bears). Sea otters are scientifically known as Enhydra lutris, and are a member of the family Mustelidae (weasels). Both polar bears and sea otters are considered marine mammals, as they spend much of their time in the ocean.

Polar bears are currently listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and sea otters are currently listed as a threatened species. The main threats to their survival are the loss of sea ice due to climate change, and hunting. Climate change is causing the sea ice to melt, which is reducing the hunting grounds and food sources for polar bears, and hunting, both legal and illegal, has also contributed to their population decline. 

Conservation efforts are in place to protect them, such as hunting quotas, habitat protection and international agreements to regulate trade in polar bear parts.