:: Sea Otter Nutrition  

Sea Otters obtain their nutrients by eating many different types of marine animals.  They eat a wide variety of marine animals such as:  clams, crabs, snails, starfish, abalones, mussels, urchins, sea cucumbers, limpets, chitons, annelid worms, and many more.  (See also interactions).  When the sea otter has obtained its food, the food is stored as glucose.  The stored glucose is later used for energy.  The sea otter’s diet really depends on their habitat and what is available to them at the time, but they prefer invertebrates.  When prey is low some sea otters turn to fish, but not very many fish are consumed by the sea otter on a daily basis. Sea Otters eat up to a third of their body weight daily and have a high metabolic rate.

Picture courtesy of Michael "Mike" L. Baird, bairdphotos.com

A sea otter eating its meal.

                The sea otter has a unique way of catching food.  They get ready to dive for an average of one minute, take a huge breath, and dive into the water.  They swim to the bottom and begin their search for food.  When the sea otter finds food, such as a clam, it tucks it into its loose skin folds in their armpits.  When the sea otter is done it returns to the surface.  When underwater they use their very sensitive whiskers to help locate food in seaweed or small holes. (See also Adaptation).  When searching for foods such as abalones, the sea otter uses a large stone to get the abalone off the rock.  The sea otter holds the rock between its two front paws and hammers the side of theMicrosoft Clip Art shell extremely fast.  Also another favorite of the sea otter is little octopus.  Sea Otters have learned that little octopi like to use soda cans as their home when thrown into the water.  The sea otter opens the can and takes out the little octopi and eats it.

                The sea otter is very different than many mammals because it uses a tool for eating.  (See also Fun Facts).  The sea otter carries a small flat rock under its armpit with them to use to open hard shells on animals in which it feeds upon.  The sea otter lies on its back, with the prey lying on its chest and uses the rock to hit the prey repeatedly until it is dead and the insides are exposed. The sea otter also has a closed circulatory system along with a complete digestive system.

To learn some fascinating facts about the sea otter click next.