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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