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OSCAR THE OTTER Meet The Aquatots Characters

Hi there, my name is Oscar and I am a Sea Otter.

Wow! aren't you growing up fast now and it's not long till you will be off to Toddler levels so I better start helping you prepare.

Let me tell you a little bit more …

What we shall learn with Oscar in Level 6 of the Aquatots Programme The serious bits for Mums & Dads

In this Level, we concentrate upon encouraging our little swimmers to extend their swimming both on top of and under the water. Swimming strokes are a focus, preparing children for entry into level 7 and their final baby level. Water Safety Skills learned in the previous levels are added to also. We have some great fun with more boisterous volunteer swims with exciting lifts into the water plus what soon becomes most children's favourite activity, jumping in and learning to do this in a safe and controlled manner!!!

 

Now a little bit more about me and my family More about Oscar & the Otter Family

Did you know that Sea Otters are the heaviest of the otter family. We have 13 types of otter cousins. We grow to just over 1.4 metres (4 feet), one of our cousins, the giant otter is longer, but we grow bigger to 45kg (99lbs) !! We are heavy and the biggest of all the animals from the same group we belong to. Otters are from the same animal group as Weasels, Badgers, Polecats, Honey Badgers, Wolverines and Mink. Sea Otters are quite special though as we are the only member of the family that can live our entire life in water. I expect you might go very wrinkly if you tried the same!! Our special fur, similar to that of Barney the Beaver who you met last term, keeps us nice and dry.

We Sea Otters, live mainly along the pacific ocean on the west coast of America. Our smaller Otter cousins, can be found all over the world, in America, South America, across all of Europe and Asia too. We are one big Otter family.

Unlike most other marine mammals we have no blubber (fat under the skin), to keep us warm. We have instead lots of our special thick fur to make sure we don't get cold. We have the densest fur of any animal with over 150,000 strands of hair per square centimetre! Now that's a lot of hair! We also have to eat quite a lot to keep our bodies warm and our favourite foods are clams, sea urchins and mussels but we also treat ourselves to a crab, some types of fish or an octopus every now and again.

The food we eat is very important. We Sea Otters need a lot of food, we eat between 20 and 25% of our own body weight in food everyday. That’s a lot of food, we are always eating !! Us Sea Otters, live on the coast by the sea and the food we eat, helps to keep a balance of the animals that like to eat the kelp forests we live in. If we did not eat so much there would be too many animals eating the kelp forests and they would very soon disappear. The kelp forest, absorbs carbon dioxide from the air, so helps to keep the planet earth with nice and fresh air.

So we Sea Otters are important, we are clever too, as we can dive up to 100 metres (330 feet) to find our food. That’s a long way down !! We have also learned to use tools to help us open the shellfish we catch to eat. Our front paws are just like your hands, we can do everything we want to with them, we use our front paws to lift and turn over stones under water when we are looking for food.

We also use our paws to hold stones which we use to crack open mussels and sea shells that we find under the sea. Its lots of fun, we lie on our backs, put the shells on our tummy and crack open the sea shell for a yummy dinner.

I am sure your Teacher has told you many times that when swimming most of your propulsion will come from your arms and good paddling. Us Sea Otters, use the rear of our body, our hind legs and webbed feet to move the rear of our bodies and tail up and down to move. We are very fast swimmers, we can get up to speeds of nearly 10kmh (6mph). Do you like playing on the raft in your lessons? Well a group of Otters is called a raft, but please don't get mistaken and try to sit on a group of us when we are resting in the water!! We love to play games, we make our own waterslides and play with the stones we find on the sea floor or the beach.

I hope you have lots and lots of fun and games in your lessons this term. We will see you back soon in the new swim term, where you will meet my friend Toby the Turtle. Toby is a very very good swimmer. Have fun, thank you for swimming with me this term. Bye Bye from the Sea Otters.