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These tools that otters use to avoid breaking their teeth



The Internet is full of videos of sea otters swimming on their backs, some busy breaking shells with a rock. It must be admitted that this kind of scene capsizes the hearts of many humans, the same ones who will welcome the choice of the American magazine Science for its front page in the issue dated May 17.

By leafing through the pages of the magazine, the reader will discover a scientific study involving nearly 200 sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) living on the California coast. There he will learn that the use of tools, stones in particular, allows these animals to avoid damaging their teeth when they break the very hard shell of their prey. It’s difficult for otters to enjoy mussels, clams or snails without tools. However, this feast of invertebrates is essential to cover their energy needs.

According to the authors of the study, using tools “is a necessity for the survival of some sea otters in resource-limited environments,” noted Science.

They also show that females, who are smaller and have less powerful jaws than males, use tools more. In addition, the gestation and education of the young induce additional calorie expenditure.

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