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Sea Otter Savvy

Sea Otter Science And Community Outreach

Be an Undercover Shopper

Go Undercover!
Help our certification program while you enjoy a paddle or tour.

secret shopper subseaReview your central California coast paddle or tour and your fee will be on us! Our Community Active Wildlife Stewards (CAWS) certification and recognition program relies in part on undercover patrons who evaluate the business practices of marine recreation operators along California's central coast. Follow these easy steps to participate:

  1. Pick an operator from the list below, and rent a watercraft (kayak, SUP, hydrobike, electric boat) or book a guided tour. 
  2. Go on your excursion, paying close attention to the information and actions relative to the wildlife you may encounter on the trip.
  3. Send us your  booking confirmation or receipt
  4. Take our post-excursion online survey (we will send you a link)
  5. Get reimbursed for one ticket/rental fee* (must have Venmo or Paypal account to receive reimbursement)

If you would like to join our undercover team, please contact us first at

*Only ONE watercraft fee will be reimbursed per excursion. We do not cover all members of your group.

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Color Me Savvy

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For those indoor-activity days, we have sea otter savvy coloring pages to inspire artists and doodlers young and old. Click the link below any of the options in the gallery below to download and print our coloring pages at home. Got masterpieces? Share and tag @SeaOtterSavvy on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter!

Murphy Otter Coloring Pages

Murphy Otter Coloring Pages

Check out these new super savvy designs created by young cartoonist Murphy Otter! Follow Murphy Otter on YouTube, Instagram, and Fiverr.

Printable Coloring Pages

Mermaid Scientist Mandala

Mermaid Scientist Mandala

Love this mandala? See more from the talented Mermaid Scientist at: https://mermaidscientist.com/

Printable Coloring Pages

Sea Otter Headbands

Sea Otter Headbands

  1. Color
  2. Cut out
  3. Attach posterboard strip with staples or tape to wear as a headband

Printable Coloring Pages

Blubber Glove Activity: Do it Yourself!

The Activity

activities blubber gloveThis activity demonstrates how the blubber layer that other marine mammals (like seals, sea lions, dolphins, and whales) have, protects them from the cold. Ask your students line up. Remind them that sea otters don't have blubber and they have a luxurious fur coast to keep them warm.  If sea otters fur gets dirty, or if they aren't able groom it well enough, they can feel the cold ocean (like the ice water in this activity). Sea otters have to do a lot of grooming to keep their fur waterproof.

Explain blubber glove activity and ask students to predict which hand will feel the warmest.

Students dip a hand protected in a “blubber glove” in ice water and compare to the other hand dipped in ice water without protection. We recommend students make a fist before putting their hand in the blubber glove to avoid tearing or flooding the glove.You may want to attach a blubber glove to the ice water container using a big clip to avoid flooding.

activities blubber glove expressionWhich hand is warmer? Does the hand in the blubber glove feel the cold water at all? How would students feel if they were swimming in cold water? What would happen to a sea otter if the cold water got to their skin? If students are familiar with Scuba diving, ask how the sea otter's fur is like a suit divers wear.

Have a towel ready to dry each student's hand an wipe up drips.




How to make the blubber gloves

Gather these materials to make two blubber gloves:

  • 4 freezer Ziplock quart bags (2 for each bag)
  • 4 sticks of Crisco (2 for each bag)
  • sturdy plastic wrapping tape and duct tape (if you want to try that step)

Step by step:

Use the Ziploc freezer quart bags (those are sturdier than the regular quart bags). You will need 2 Ziploc bags for each blubber glove.

It is easier to use the Crisco sticks than to try and scoop the stuff out of a can and in between the bags. You will need 2 Crisco sticks for each bag.

Place one Ziploc bag inside another.

Place one Crisco stick in between each side, being careful to not get it inside the center bag or on the upper edges. You will have to play with it a bit to get the technique down. Gently unwrap the stick except for one side and loosely cover it again so when you are sliding there won’t be globs that get on the outside or top edges.

activities blubber glove sample2Once the stick is inside, toward the bottom, unroll the wrapper and remove it, being careful to avoid a mess. Using the sticks is faster and not as frustrating as scooping and inserting. But there is no right or wrong way – whatever works for you is the way to go.

Gently mash the Crisco on each side to create a uniform layer inside the double bag.

We use the sturdy plastic packing tape to enclose the tops. This is tricky too. It can be easier to use smaller pieces than try to wrap all around the entire top in one piece. We start with the long sections and tape those, then the corners (straightening them helps). Several layers are needed to firmly tape the bags at the top. Go down the side a bit in consecutive layers. Optional: Use duct tape to seal the inside layer for added protection and placed duct tape along the inside bottom. Taping the inside bottom is said to protect from ripping by fingernails.

There you go! You are ready for the blubber glove activity!

Vocabulary words:

Blubber: a layer of fat that protects most marine mammals from the cold ocean

Grooming: The things that you do to make your appearance clean and neat (for example: brushing your hair and teeth), OR the things that  animals do to keep their fur in good condition.

Marine mammal: a mammal that lives in the ocean. Examples from California: harbor seals, sea lions, elephant seals, dolphins, orcas, gray whales, humpback whales, sea otters.

Kelp Connection Activity: Do it Yourself!

The Kelp Connection activity in action!The Kelp Connection activity in action!

The Activity 

Be part of the kelp forest community! The kelp connection demonstrates organisms are interconnected. Students act as members of the kelp forest community, showing the important role sea otters play in keeping that web together.

The Kelp Connection cardsThe Kelp Connection cardsStudents are given cards with photos of various kelp forest animals including a sea otter, sea urchin, and one for the kelp forest. Give out lengths of cord to link each “animal” to the kelp forest. A cord also links the sea otter to the urchin. If the otter is removed, the urchin population can grow and wipe and destroy the kelp forest, creating an urchin barren. Have the student with the otter card drop their cord. What happens then? The urchin population can grow and destroy the kelp by eating it at the base. Have the student representing the kelp forest drop all the ends of their cords, which leaves the animals because the community is no longer there. Click here for a diagram that should help you visualize the web.

How to make it yourself 

Materials needed for kelp forest activity:

  • Photos of kelp forest residents (click here to use ours!)
  • Printer
  • Good quality printer paper or cardstock
  • Laminator (optional)
  • Hole puncher
  • Yarn, string, or light rope


Print out cards of various animals that use or live in kelp. If the cards are to be reused it is a good idea to laminate them. Alternatively, you can print them on cardstock, but they won't be as durable as the laminated cards.  Punch two holes at the upper side of each card. Run yarn through the holes and tie so the cards hang from the necks of the students like necklaces, with the photos facing out. Cut lengths of cord about 5 feet long. Cut enough so there is one for each “animal” and the kelp forest, plus one extra one for the link between the sea otter and kelp.

Have feedback on this activity or these instructions? Let us know at !

How to Apply Your Sea Otter Savvy Kayak Sticker

Kayak decal 350Our watercraft stickers are designed as a way for kayak, stand-up paddleboard, or electric boat rental customers to take a sea otter savvy reminder with them even after they've left the beach or dock. These appealing stickers are provided free by Sea Otter Savvy to cmmercial, private, and educational outfitters—just send a request to

Are you ready to apply our Sea Otter Savvy stickers to you kayak or paddleboard fleet? Just a few simple steps can assure stronger adherence and assure the stickers remain tightly attached to your boats. 


Step 1: Identify location for placing the sticker. Choose places where the sticker will be easily seen by the paddler, while also considering the potential for wear and surface smoothness. Stickers will not adhere to textured surfaces or those coated with wax or UV protectant. 

sticker wipe 350

Step 2: Clean the surface thoroughly with denatured alcohol to remove dirt, sand, and any other residue. 

sticker alcohol 350

Step 3: Sand area smooth.

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Step 4: Apply heat to the surface with a acetylene torch or blow dryer until the surface is hot.

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Step 5: Position sticker and smooth out carefully. You may apply one more blast of heat and smooth the sticker again.

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These steps can be accomplished in 10 minutes and will greatly increase the durability of your stickers. For support with sticker application or if you need more stickers, email .  Special thanks to the staff of Monterey Bay Kayaks for testing, evolving, and sharing these methods! 

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Thanks to all the outfitters on the California coast who have put these stickers on their fleet: