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  • Context (TH): Sea otters use rocks, shells, and discarded bottles as hammers or anvils to smash open hard-shelled prey. Their prey includes sea urchins, abalone, crabs, mussels, clams, & snails.
  • Tool use allows otters to access otherwise inaccessible prey and maintain their energy requirements.

Use of tools by other animals

  • Chimpanzees use tools like stones to crack nuts and sticks to get termites.
  • Dolphins use sponges to protect their beaks while foraging.
  • Galapagos Islands finches use cactus spines to dig grubs out of holes.

About Sea Otters

Sea Otter | National Geographic

Credit: National Geographic

  • They are water mammals found along the coasts of the Pacific Ocean in North America and Asia.
  • Unlike other marine mammals, they have no blubber to protect them from hypothermia.
  • Sea otters are key players in the health of the kelp forests they inhabit.
  • IUCN Status: Endangered.
  • Threats: Oil spills and run-off from the land containing chemicals and disease-causing organisms.
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