Sea otters are one of the few mammals that exhibit tool use, using rocks to break open prey and storing the rocks in the loose skin under their forearms.
Sea otters are one of few mammals that exhibit tool use.
Sea otters have patches of loose skin under the forearms that they use to help store tools, such as rocks, so they can free up their paws while eating. They also use these loose folds of skin to collect and transport invertebrates during diving.
Sea otters break open prey items with hard shells or exoskeletons with a rock. Some otters hold the rock on their chest and drive the prey into the rocks. Others leave the prey on their chests and hit the prey with the rocks. The same rock is kept for many dives.
Otters often wash their prey by holding it against their body and turning in the water.
• Image | ©️ Andrew Reding, Some Rights Reserved(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
• Sources | (Allegra & Gunderson 2012; Cohn, 1998; Estes, 1980; Estes, Underwood, & Karmann, 1986; Fisher, 1939; Limbaugh, 1961; Nowak, 1999; Paine, 1993)