from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The sea-otter, Enhydris marina.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
When the castaway crew of Vitus Bering looked about for means to exist on the barren islands where they were wrecked, they found the kelp beds and seaweed fields of the North Pacific literally alive with a little animal, which the Russians called "the sea-beaver."
After that, the Russians of Siberia needed no incentive to hunt the sea-beaver.
Kamchatka and eastern Siberia knew the sea-beaver well, for it had been found on the Asiatic side of the Pacific, and its pelt was regarded as priceless by Chinese and Tartar merchants.
Russian adventurers who rafted the coast of Siberia in crazy skiffs, related that the sea-beaver always disappeared northeastward, whence the spruce driftwood and dead whales with harpoons of strange hunters and occasionally wrecks of walrus-skin boats came washing from an unknown land.
It was only when Bering's crew were left prisoners of the sea on an island barren as a billiard ball that the hunger-desperate men found the habitat of the sea-beaver to be the kelp beds of the Aleutian
Rocky Mountains, south to Texas, north to the Athabasca, so the hunt of the sea-beaver led to the exploration of the North Pacific coast.
According to recent researches the _sea-otter_, sea-beaver or