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Naturalist Notebook 

September 20, 2011

Spotlight On…

Check out this week’s featured specimen!

(Pictured below, really close up!)

Photo: N. Sincero 2011

Can you guess what it is?

Here are some hints:

  • This animal has 850,000 to one million hairs per square inch of skin.
  • This animal uses tools.

Leave us a comment with your answer! Then come see us outside the Project Lab on Friday, September 23rd at 11:30 AM for Specimen Spotlight in order to find out if you’re right.

Filed under: Spotlight On... — nature @ 8:00 am


  1. Is this a sea otter? It seems they would have a very good use for so much hair…and the stones/rocks they use to open shellfish makes me believe this is, in fact, an otter.

    Comment by Daniel — September 20, 2011 @ 8:45 pm

  2. I like the sea otter suggestion from Daniel, but to try something different I’ll say…beaver!

    Comment by Patrice — September 20, 2011 @ 9:12 pm

  3. otter

    Comment by robert yuen — September 21, 2011 @ 10:47 am

  4. Otter

    Comment by Tom Brown — September 21, 2011 @ 11:04 am

  5. It must be a sea otter.

    Comment by Lenly Angeles — September 21, 2011 @ 11:07 am


    Comment by Thrae — September 21, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

  7. I’m sure it’s a sea otter : I love them !

    Comment by Denise Nguyen — September 21, 2011 @ 4:07 pm

  8. Well done everyone! It is of course the lovable Enhydra lutris, known more commonly as the sea otter. We are getting ready to kick off Sea Otter Awareness Week, which runs from September 25th to October 1st. We’ll have lots of activities and resources. Due to threats such as disease, habitat degradation, offshore oil drilling and food scarcity, there are fewer than 3,000 southern sea otters off the California coast. Take some time to come learn how you can help these very cute critters.
    Photo: Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles © California Academy of Sciences
    As usual there will be a new guess the specimen next week, but in the meantime see if you can tell us Who Pooped?

    Comment by nature — September 23, 2011 @ 9:56 am

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