Sea otters are adorable. With thick fur, an engaging personality and an athletic body, they‘re always a hit with people. And while we all love them, they need our help more than our admiration. Southern sea otters are endangered on the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List and threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Georgia Aquarium is doing its part to help by educating the public on sea otters and the dangers they face in the wild. Commercial fishing nets, oil spills and predation from great white sharks is the biggest threat to the survival of sea otters, but with research and safer fishing practices, we can help them thrive in the wild. These are amazing creatures, and to prove it, here are five facts about sea otters you may not have known.

1: Sea otters have some of the densest fur in the animal kingdom, with 350,000 to 1,000,000 hairs per square inch. Living in cold waters requires superior insulation, which means some seriously thick fur. Sea Otter on rocksGeorgia Aquarium sea otter posing for the camera.

2: Sea otters can dive up to 330 feet when looking for food. Sea urchins, scallops, clams, and more can’t hide from a determined sea otter.

Two sea otters from the Ga AquariumTwo sea otters at Georgia Aquarium

3: Sea otters are more than just cuddly and cute; they’re smart, too! Sea otters use tools, one of the only other mammals aside from primates to do so. The clam lunch they plan on enjoying might require using stones to open, and the otters are experts at doing just that.

Ga Aquarium sea ottersGeorgia Aquarium has five sea otters on-site.

4: They eat…a lot. Sea otters must eat 20-25 percent of their body weight every day to maintain normal body temperature. That’s a whole lot of scallops, mollusks and other delicacies.

Woman with sea otter at Ga AquariumSea otters are playful and know how to make people smile.

5: Sea otters are a keystone species, helping maintain kelp forests by feeding on sea urchins, which can devastate kelp forests. Sea urchins can gobble up a lot of kelp if left alone, but luckily we have sea otters who can eat up to 50 sea urchins each day.

Two sea otters from the Ga Aquarium smilingTwo of Georgia Aquarium's sea otters smiling for the camera.

To learn more about Southern sea otters, visit GeorgiaAquarium.org.