These excluded males gather in so-called “male areas”, denied the opportunity for contact with females. It’s a situation that may have been exacerbated by a change in the demographics of Monterey Bay’s sea otters.
For reasons that are still far from clear, overall mortality rate in the otter population is increasing, and disproportionately affecting females. As a consequence, an even greater number of mature males are denied mating opportunities, possibly causing sexual encounters to be more aggressive when they do occur.
And those males that remain denied an opportunity to mate take out their frustrations on the hapless young harbor seals, an interspecies interaction that has been known to take place, albeit with less dramatic consequences, in other marine mammals."
As it turns out, sea otters are some of the biggest sickos of the animal kingdom. […]
When food is in short supply things can get ugly. Some males will hold otter pups hostage until the mother pays a ransom of food to the male.
But they don’t just kidnap babies. Sea otters also rape baby seals to death.
Male otters will find a juvenile harbor seal and mount it, as if he were mating with a female otter. Unfortunately, part of the mating process involves holding the female’s head under water which ultimately kills the seal pups (and over 10% of female otters).
For over an hour and a half, the male otter will hold the seal pup in this position, raping it until it is dead. Sometimes when the seal pup dies, it is just let go and the otter will begin to groom itself.
Some otters, however, will hang on to the dead pup and continue to rape its dead and decaying corpse for up to a week later.
Sea otters aren’t even the scariest otters, believe it or not. In South America 6-foot long river otters still exist. And they hunt in packs.