Sea otters: cute and cuddly, yet surprisingly …

Sea otters: cute and cuddly, yet surprisingly violent.

Sea otter mating behavior was on full display this afternoon in Seldovia’s harbor.

Male otters are aggressive when it comes to mating. He grips the female tightly with his arms and bites down hard on her nose, ensuring she can’t escape. It’s a bloody affair and females are usually left scarred; sometimes the wounds they receive can be fatal, and there is a very real risk of drowning.

This violent mating behavior may have an important function. Sea otters, like other mustelids, are induced ovulators and require vigorous copulation in order for the egg to be released.