[All photographed from shore or pier/dock, at a distance, w/tele lens to avoid disturbance to the otters]
When I’m in Southern sea otter territory, I like photographing their various food choices. Because sea otters dive so frequently when feeding — they eat about 25% of their body weight daily — they’ll come up with a variety of prey, including mussels, urchins, crabs, sand dollars, and other marine species.
Per @seaottersavvy, sea otters “have been observed feeding on more than 75 different species in CA.”
This is a female sea otter with a Kellet’s whelk, a large sea snail. I learned from Sea Otter Savvy that the Kellet’s whelk has been more of a southern species, but it’s been moving northward in recent years, possibly due to climate change. This is, I also learned, an uncommon photo — an otter with this particular prey in her paws.
This female sea otter has a bloody nose. During mating, male otters grab females by the side of the face or the nose, resulting in these injuries and, later, healed scars.
More photos of this otter with Kelletia in a previous post: Southern Sea Otter with Kelletia