SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Endangered sea otters are facing a growing threat from what may seem like an unexpected predator – sharks. Scientists are unsure of what is causing the recent spike in shark attacks on sea otters.

The number of sea otters killed and wounded by sharks has soared in recent years, and great white sharks are the main suspect.

Otter carcasses continue to be found along the Central California coast with shark bites, and in some cases even shark teeth, from white sharks embedded in the otters’ furry bodies.

Scientists do not know why sharks are killing otters but the leading theory is that it may have something to do with the growing number of sea lions and elephant seals, the white sharks’ main meal. Sharks may simply be mistaking the sea otters for their typical sea lion and elephant seal prey.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Comments (4)
  1. thinkoutsidemedia says:

    “Sharks may simply be mistaking the sea otters for their typical sea lion and elephant seal prey.” – yea okay, sharks are as old as dinosaurs and all of a sudden they are mistaking their prey. come one

  2. tn says:

    What kind of newsworthy article is this? Hasn’t the journalistic department ever thought that it’s natures way of balancing the sea animals? Unless you think that the man-made chemicals in ocean water affected the sharks’ appetite or sea lion population, so what more sea lions are prey? These creatures have been here a whole lot longer than our scientists’ studies. I’m upset I spent time commenting on this! And now you’re probably disturbed spending time reading this article and its comments!

  3. Buzz says:

    Otters may be cute to humans, but to sharks, they are no more than tasty morsels. Hey, better otters than a surfer!

  4. Greg says:

    Could it be because of the bleeding heart urbanites, we now have an over population of Great Whites. With Seal and Sea Lion populations growing because of protections and this predator at the top of the food chain, there is nothing to keep Great White populations in check. You have an ecosysyem out of balance! We need to open a hunting season on Sea Lions and Seals and at least cull the Great Whites back!

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