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#54 Marine Otter or Chungungo


Carnivore Week

If you search for Marine Otter, often what you find when looking at pictures is actually Sea Otters. These are much smaller both in size and numbers (though Sea Otters are also endangered). The biggest threats to these are habitat loss, conflicts with fishermen, and poaching. They are called the sea cat, partly because of their whiskers apparently. They do have lots of whiskers. They look more like river otters, and are more closely related to at least some of them than to sea otters, and yet they rarely if ever visit rivers. They are one of the smallest otters, only getting up to 3-3.5 feet long. They live along the pacific side of Peru and Chile. Unlike most marine mammals, they don't have blubber. Their fur is (as with all otters) the densest of all mammals with up to a million hairs per inch. Their hair keeps them warm by trapping air. Humans by the way, only have an average of 2,200 hairs per square inch.

I decided to paint this otter with the same composition I used for the extinct Sea Mink I did last year. Many people get confused whether they are looking at an Otter or a Mink. They are relatives, but very different. Also, the paintings are obviously done in different mediums since I used watercolour pencils last year, and oils this time. I certainly enjoy the oils more, and feel that there is much more depth to them. I also like the added control I have with oil and the ability to build things up. By the point I did the Sea Mink I had done a lot more watercolour paintings than I have done oil paintings in my life. I haven't come even close to 100 oil paintings, and that was number 282 of the series, which means it was maybe my 290th watercolour painting ever.

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