Oiled Wildlife Care Network

Effects of Oil on Sea Otters and Fur Seals

Photo: oiled northern fur sealSea otters and fur seals rely on thick fur for warmth and to float in the water. Their fur is so thick it traps a layer of air inside, which protects them from the cold. When oil gets on their fur, it allows the cold water to get through to their skin, and they can become hypothermic.

When they groom themselves, they may ingest oil from their fur. They may also eat oil if their prey has oil on or in it. Oil can cause damage to their organs.

To learn more about how oil affects marine mammals, please go to the OWCN’s page on oiled wildlife

To learn more about Sea Otters please visit The Marine Mammal Center’s web page on otters.

To learn more about fur seals, please visit The Marine Mammal Center’s web page on pinnipeds.

Arrow: back to Effects of Oil on Wildlife