Thursday May 23, 2024


In parts of the ocean where sea otters face stark competition for their favorite kinds of food, some otters are getting by with the help of tools — like rocks and even glass bottles — that let them bash open tougher prey that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to eat.

That’s according to a new study of sea otters in Monterey Bay, California, which took a look at the tool use of individual otters to see how it affected their health and nutrition.

The findings, published in the journal Science, reveal how this special skill set may increase their chances of survival in an uncertain world.

Sea otters are large marine mammals that spend their days foraging in kelp forests. They dive to the bottom to grab tasty morsels, plus sometimes rocks that they plan to use as tools. They bring these to the surface and float on their backs, using their bellies as tables as they get to work on opening and eating their snacks.

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