Activity #2: The Sea Otter Diet
1. Complete Student Worksheet: Calories to Burn
Note: You may wish to have students keep the diary for an entire week and average their daily caloric intake.
2. Keep Student Activity Diary in Student Worksheet: What Can I Eat.
Answer: Answers will vary.
Have students read the Student Resource: An Otter's Life. Then, using the Student Worksheet: You Do the Math, ask them to figure the approximate number of calories an adult male otter must eat each day to maintain his weight. Then, they can use information from the Student Resource: An Otter's Life to answer the following questions:
4. Compare the caloric value of the food eaten by sea otters and humans.
Next, using the Student Resource: an Otter's Life and/or other resources listed below, have students draw up an imaginary diary of an otter's day. Discuss with students how the sea otter lifestyle, its environment and his daily activities, requires the animal to burn so many calories to survive.
Write the calories per kilogram of weight that a male otter eats each day on the chalkboard. (253 calories/kg). Then help students figure out how many calories they eat per kilogram of body weight. Briefly discuss the comparison between themselves and the otter. Does the otter eat a lot more than the human? Why do students think this might be so?
Answer: Yes. The otter does eat more calories/kilogram of body weight. He does so because he needs to keep his metabolism running high to stay warm and to fuel the almost constant activity of hunting, guarding, playing, etc. in which he engages each day.
5. "If I Ate Like a Sea Otter" Activity
Return of the Sea Otter
Otternet: Species Profile, Sea Otter
Did You Know?
Sea Otters have a pouch of extra skin under their armpits where they can store food items such as sea urchins, crabs, and barnacles for eating at a later time. They eat about 25 percent of their body weight every day.