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Oceans
Sea Otters and Manatees



Sea Otters and Manatees
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 2 to 3
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   2.6

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    abalone, alaska, blubber, dugong, propeller, coastal, otter, kelp, belly, lays, minutes, seals, bears, calf, dying, pounds
     content words:    West Africa, Amazon River


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Sea Otters and Manatees
By Mary Lynn Bushong
  

1     One of the cutest animals is the sea otter. They have bright eyes and a sense of fun. Manatees are not cute. They are large, slow animals that live under water. How can they be alike? The answer is easy. They are in danger of dying off.
 
2     Many years ago, sea otters were hunted for their fur. In the early 1900s, there were hardly any sea otters left. A law was made to protect them. Since then, their numbers have grown.
 
3     Sea otters have very thick fur. They do not have blubber to help keep them warm.
 
4     An otter takes good care of his coat. It never gets wet all the way to his skin.
 
5     Sea otter food is found in kelp forests. These are long sea weeds that grow in the ocean. They look like tall, under water trees.
 
6     There is little light in a kelp forest. The otter must hold his breath while hunting. He can hold it from one to four minutes. Using his whiskers and paws, the otter finds food. Then he carries it to the surface to eat.
 
7     Sea otters eat crabs, clams, sea urchins, sea snails, and abalone [AH-ba-lo-nee]. To eat, the animal lays on its back. Its belly is the dinner table. When it is done, it rolls over. All the leftovers are washed away.
 
8     A mother otter will often have one pup a year. Female sea otters stay in groups. Male otters often stay in their own groups.

Paragraphs 9 to 23:
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