Q:

What do sea otters eat?

A:

Quick Answer

Sea otters eat mainly slow-moving fish and marine invertebrates, such as crabs, sea urchins, abalones, clams, mussels, snails and octopuses. However, the diet and eating habits of sea otters may vary depending upon the location and season.

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Full Answer

Sea otters are carnivorous mammals with a very high metabolism. In order to support it, they must eat about 25 to 30 percent of their weight in food every day. Sea otters weigh, on average, 65 pounds. A large male might consume up to 25 pounds of food daily.

To retrieve food, sea otters dive to the ocean floor. They hunt with their forepaws, catching their prey and bringing it to the surface. Holding their food on their chest, they lie on their backs and eat in the water. To eat clams and mussels, sea otters repeatedly smash them against a rock lying on their chest. Sea otters prefer to eat in the water. Even Alaska otters, who spend a great deal of time on land, eat in the water. Sea otters are typically found on the coasts of the Pacific Ocean in North America and Asia. Unlike other marine mammals, they do not have a layer of blubber. Instead, they are protected from the cold by a thick layer of fur.

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Related Questions

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    How do sea otters protect themselves?

    A:

    Sea otters protect themselves from predators by escaping to dry land, hiding in kelp or swimming away. The main predators of sea otters are water-bound sharks and killer whales, so sea otters can protect themselves by climbing onto land.

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    What eats sea otters?

    A:

    The main predators that eat sea otters are sharks and killer whales. Eagles, bears, coyotes and Steller sea lions are also known to eat sea otters occasionally.

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    What are some facts about sea otters?

    A:

    Sea otters are mammals that belong to the weasel family, have the densest fur of all animals and are a keystone species. As a keystone species, the sea otter is critical for the health and well-being of a great number of other species. They are the heaviest weasels and the second smallest marine mammals.

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    What do sea lions eat?

    A:

    Sea lions are carnivorous animals that feed on squids and octopuses. They also eat large amounts of fish, including sardines, anchovies, herring, salmon, pompano and mackerel.

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