The sea otter, one of the richest and rarest of furs, especially for men's wear, is an exception to this unhairing process, which it does not require, the hair being of the same length as the wool, silky and bright, quite the reverse of the case of other aquatic animals.
This is also done with nutrias after unhairing.
Formerly the fur was only used for hatters' felt, but with the rise in prices of furs these skins have been more carefully removed and-with improved dressing, unhairing and silvering processes-the best provides a very effective and suitable fur for ladies' coats, capes, stoles, muffs, hats and gloves, while the lower qualities make very useful, light-weighted and inexpensive linings for men's or women's driving coats.
A large number of skins, after unhairing, is dyed seal colour and used in America.
Unlike other aquatic animals the skin undergoes no process of unhairing, the fur being of a rich dense silky wool with the softest and shortest of water hairs.