Otters have little pouches under their arms, in which they can store rocks to use as little hammers for smashing open urchin shells. Urchins beat kelp, as they munch on their blades. Upon returning to the surface, they float on their backs, with the rock on the stomachs. Fortunately, sea otters have an appetite for sea urchins and they help to keep sea urchins in check, allowing the kelp to flourish and capture CO 2. Because they chow down on urchins, sea otters are considered "keystone predators." Shape The World. © 2021 WILD SKY MEDIA. Sea otters obtain their food by diving. by seaottersdotcom | Oct 4, 2012 | sea otters. They have an interesting method of eating their prey. Learn more about these cute and charismatic critters. Sea otters are foragers that eat mostly hard-shelled invertebrates, including sea urchins and a variety of clams, mussels, and crabs. Typically, a sea otter's diet consists of sea urchins, snails crabs, fish, and molluscs such as clams, mussels and whelks. Sea otters are obligate carnivores which means they only eat meat items. The sea urchin’s main predators are crabs, lobsters, starfish, eels, sea otters, birds, and a number of large fish. Some otters eat so many urchins that their teeth, skulls and skeletons are stained purple! The urchins would consume too much kelp, reducing the availability of fish in the water. Want to watch cute sea otters romp, wrestle and play every day of the year? Otter Eating image by Dawn from Fotolia.com. Sea otters are another predator of urchins in the kelp forests. Sea otters are carnivores that feed on an array of marine species—mostly invertebrates like crabs, clams, urchins, snails and worms. The most important criterion for the living of sea urchins is the salinity of water, they are not found in the salty seas (Black Sea, Caspian and part of the Baltic Sea). They may be cute and cuddly-looking, but otters are equipped to do serious damage with their choppers. Be Her Village. Otter populations are growing in Southeast Alaska, Katchemak Bay … All these animals carry particular adaptations (teeth, pincers, claws) and a strength that allow them to overcome the excellent protective features of sea … The sea urchin is the leading food for the sea otter, by consuming sea urchins, the sea otter can maintain a balance of Eco-system. They are known to eat clams, mussels, crabs, octopus, sea urchins, snails, and fat innkeeper worms. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. The two are directly related in that sea otters prey on sea urchins, which in turn can help foster kelp beds because urchins feast on kelp. How Do Sea Otters Eat? While sea otters were unaffected by wasting disease and continued to eat large urchins, the populations of medium-sized urchins exploded by over 300% and the density of … What Are the Suction Cups Used for on the Tentacles of a Squid? They hunt three to four times every day, relying primarily on their vision and touch. Sea urchin fishing began in Japan soon after World War II before spreading to the entire Pacific Rim by the 1970s and within two more decades the practice would spread to the Atlantic region. They scrape clean rocks and coral covered in algae using their teeth, and their long tongue to eat the matter. Purple sea urchins are devouring the kelp forest off California's coast. If both teams show the same character, no one wins. Different types of otter, including sea otters and river otters, eat a wide variety of sea creatures, including urchins. That's like a 200-pound man eating 50 pounds of hamburger a day. Sea otters are provided a varied diet while in human care. 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