Sea otters, the "keystone predator" of Aleutian kelp forests, experienced dramatic population declines in the 1990's. read more Sea otters can sometimes be seen off sandy beaches — and even local harbors. 6. ... Members of the fishing industry, for example, might be leery of these voracious predators. Sea otters eat sea urchins in abundance where they both occur but also prey on crabs and other crustaceans and mollusks. Recent reports of sea otter sightings have also occurred in Mexico. The sea otter can usually be found in kelp beds, and looks very much like lumps of kelp. If you removed all the sea otters in that area, the sea urchins would reproduce unchecked, as they have few natural predators that can get past their spines. A sea otter rests on its back with its head, arms and flippers in the air, and looks like two lumps close together. Sea otters dive or play dead when they sense danger, or may signal alarm by raising a forepaw. There … Eagles may also grab young otters if given the opportunity. In the U.S., there are two distinct sea otter subspecies, the Northern sea otter (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) and the Southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis). The Alaskan subspecies have predators on land such as coyotes or brown bears. The sea otter is a marine mammal belonging to the weasel family of animals, specifically the Family Mustelidae. Sea Otters Could Get New Home in San Francisco Bay. https://sciencing.com/do-sea-otters-protect-themselves-6718568.html Predators of sea otters include sharks and killer whales. Diet analysis suggests that butter clams are their preferred prey in Southeast Alaska (La Roche 2020). Common predators of sea otters include various predatory marine mammals such as orcas and sea lions. Due to the large size of the sea otters, there are few natural predator enemies. Northern sea otters are found in the Aleutian Islands, Southern Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington. Tips for spotting a sea otter. These predators of sea urchins then proceed to crush their outer body with its powerful bit and sharp teeth. Sea otter. Sea urchins beware! Bald eagles have been observed swooping down and grabbing sea otter pups. Those sea otters that live farther south, mostly hunt for a great white shark, and representatives of those sea otters that inhabit the more northern areas of the Pacific, hunt for killer whales. Even crabs or lobsters with hard shells can be crushed with its powerful jaws. Then in 1914 a remnant population of about 50 southern sea otters was found along the rugged Big Sur shoreline. Sea otters are generalist predators that consume over 200 species across a spectrum of rocky and soft substrates. While there may not be immense numbers of sea otters, a single sea otter can eat a lot of sea urchins. 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