Otterly adorable: Dozy otters hold hands while taking a nap so they don’t drift apart as they sleep

A loving pair of otters were captured snoozing while holding hands to stop them floating apart in their slumber.

A loving pair of otters were captured snoozing while holding hands to stop them floating apart in their slumber.

The male and female, named Nellie and Abra, were cuddling up on their waterbed after a playful morning together.

And despite the water’s chilly temperature, the otters were in no danger of catching a cold as their fur is one of the densest in the animal kingdom – with up to a million hairs per square inch.

Inseparable: A pair of northern sea otters hold hands while floating across water in Tacoma, Washington, USA

Photographer John Vargas, 62, said: ’The otters’ eyes were shut and they appeared to be napping. They slowly and smoothly floated across the water as if they were skating on ice.’

Otters are known to hold hands in groups – called a raft – while they eat, sleep and rest, to prevent families losing each other.

The furry animals, the largest member of the weasel family, are even known to wrap sea plants around them to secure the bond.

These photographs were captured at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington, but in the USA they can be found in the wild in Alaska, the Aleutian Islands, the Commander Islands, the northwestern coast of Vancouver Island and Washington.

Laid back: Otters hold hands while eating and sleeping so they don’t accidentally lose each other

Drifting off: Otters will also secure themselves to sea plants to make sure they aren’t swept away by water currents while they sleep

Northern sea otters have historically been hunted for their dense, waterproof fur.

They came close to extinction at the turn of the 20th Century but are now protected by the International Fur Seal Treaty and the US Marine Mammal Protection Act.

In 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil spill is estimated to have killed about 5,000 sea otters.

They are also threatened by parasites and infectious diseases, thought to reach the ocean via storm drain runoff.

Heavyweight: Adult sea otters typically weigh between 14 and 45 kg making them the heaviest members of the weasel family, but among the smallest marine mammals

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