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.