Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Sea Otters Do Terrible Things To Baby Seals

Cute, right? Baby otters! Doesn't it tug on your heart strings to see them behind that fence? Set them free! Animals should be free!

No! They should be locked in cages forever. Those baby otters will grow into adult otters. Some of them probably male. And while the otters in the video happen to be river otters, if adult male river otters are anything at all like adult male sea otters, they should be kept away from all other animals at any cost. Adult male sea otters, it turns out, are horrible, terrible, despicable monsters.

A warning: what you are about to read, should you choose to continue, is much worse than the accounts of otter-on-human attacks that got so much press last year. It comes from a report that Heather Harris of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently wrote in the zoology journal Aquatic Mammals about otter behavior she and a team of colleagues observed during a two year study of animals in Monterey Bay in California. You will wish this account was of an isolated incident. It is not. Similar events were observed and logged on 19 separate occasions.

A weaned harbor seal pup was resting onshore when an untagged male sea otter approached it, grasped it with its teeth and forepaws, bit it on the nose, and flipped it over. The harbor seal moved toward the water with the sea otter following closely. Once in the water, the sea otter gripped the harbor seal’s head with its forepaws and repeatedly bit it on the nose, causing a deep laceration. The sea otter and pup rolled violently in the water for approximately 15 min, while the pup struggled to free itself from the sea otter’s grasp. Finally, the sea otter positioned itself dorsal to the pup’s smaller body while grasping it by the head and holding it underwater in a position typical of mating sea otters. As the sea otter thrust his pelvis, his penis was extruded and intromission was observed. At 105 min into the encounter, the sea otter released the pup, now dead, and began grooming.

Grooming! Like some kind of psychopathic serial-murderer human. Like Dexter! Or Christian Bale in American Psycho!

And sometimes, the otters stick around, using the lifeless corpse of their baby-seal victims as sex dolls. Sometimes for as long as seven days! I mean! It's like something out of a Dolcett Girls fantasy post.

Scientists think the behavior might have something to do with a mysterious increase in otter mortality rates, one that seems to be disproportionately claiming females, leaving many males with no one to have sex with. Like some frat house in a Saw movie or something. It probably has to do with global warming. So this is somehow our fault. It sounds like something that would be our fault.

Sea otters! A favorite of animal lovers everywhere! I really don't know what to do. I'll never be able to watch one these of these fascinating, playful animals slide down a muddy embankment or frolic in a bed of kelp or lie on its back, cracking open a clam shell with a rock the same way again. I'm out of exclamation points. I'm just sick about this.

19 Comments / Post A Comment

dado (#102)

Great, now I'll be thinking of otters if my mechanic tells me I blew a seal.

KenWheaton (#401)

Not every mammal has the benefit of a lo mein doll.

Otter penis makes a delicious stew.

BadUncle (#153)

Those aren't otters. Listen to them. They are squeaky dog chews.

jfruh (#713)

Slander! Dexter would only kill evil baby seals.

propertius (#361)

"leaving many males with no one to have sex with. "

With all respect to biological science, the male otters still have one another to play with, don't they?

In other words, I don't believe we can so easily avoid the conclusion that these animals are perverts.

GoGoGojira (#2,871)

Why can't they just be gay? That's what I wanna know.

velcrosneakers (#10,590)

Is the Awl going to do an expose on cute animals and what they REALLY do in the wild so that we humans can end up hating them all?

KenWheaton (#401)

Did you people watch "The Whale That Ate Jaws" last night on Nat Geo? Apparently Killer Whales (from an L.A. pod, and another one) have learned how to subdue Great Whites by flipping them over, drowning them and then eating their liver. WHAT THE FUCK?!?!

Dave Bry (#422)

With a nice Chianti…

retrovertigo (#10,593)

fuck. otters. seriously. otters may look cute but they are so screwed up.
A couple years ago, I was at the Bronx zoo with friends in the Jungle World atrium. There was an exhibit which had several small orange or gray monkeys in a high tree and below there were otters in a pool of water. I did not notice the otters…UNTIL…! The shrieking! The horror! I was told later that the monkeys liked to go and hit the otters and then run back up the tree. On this special occasion, 12 or so otters ambushed the offending monkey and proceeded to drag it into the water where they bit and drowned it to death in a furious frenzy with me and 15 other human spectators and many other monkey family members frozen in horror. I had the entire thing recorded on my phone until I closed it in a fit of tears (I was 18). There is a short video of the very end of the ordeal on youtube somewhere. the zoo keepers fished the dead monkey out of the water with a long net.
In conclusion: Fuck otters.

@retrovertigo That video is what brought me to this site actually. I thought the video was a recent one. Anyways, I am as sick to death as Dave Bry about this horrible information! I thought that only humans were capable of these sickening acts! Reading this report has made a horrible impression on me. Maybe the world IS going to hell! When animals start acting like sadistic sexual predators and serial killers it makes me wonder where this world is headed. I have always defended the killing of animals by animals to my children by explaining to them that animals are not capable of evil and only do this to feed themselves. After reading this, however, I am not so sure. The terrible act by this sea otter on another baby otter sure seems like evil to me. I am in shock and I will never, ever look at otters in the same way again! Let's just hope this behaviour isn't seen in other animals as well.

David Roth (#4,429)

"Gerald Ford, humped to death by otters, dead at 81."

theheckle (#621)

"I'm told he made an incredibly handsome corpse."

thundacunt (#10,611)

so..in conclusion…dolphins are the douchbags of the sea and otters are the predatory killers of the lakes?

GoGoGojira (#2,871)

Whoa, those otters in the video are reminding me of how you had to climb a fence above lava inside a castle in Super Mario World.

Lesson learned: Sea Otters can be badass muthafuckers if they need be. I think this made me like Sea Otters just a little more.

Firstly, river otters and sea otters are quite different in behavior so don't be casting aspersions on all otters for this behavior. Secondly, Sea Otters do not slide down muddy embankments as they are not land mammals and do not go ashore. And the 'fascinating playful animals' is an apt description for River Otters, not Sea Otters. And finally, the behavior you describe is not typical Sea Otter behavior even though you imply it is. Please don't get people confused about the facts.

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