Cool Fact About Sea Otters and Purple Sea Urchins

Did you know? Some sea otters eat so many purple sea urchins over their lifetime that their teeth and bones actually become stained purple (known as echinochrome staining).

 

Sea otter with purple sea urchin

Sea otter resting on the ocean surface, grasping a purple sea urchin it has just pulled up off the ocean floor.

 

Sea otter skull with echinochrome staining.

Sea otter skull with echinochrome staining.

 

Sea otter teeth with echinochrome staining

Stranded sea otter with echinochrome stained teeth.

 

Purple sea urchins on rocky reef amid kelp forest.

Purple sea urchins on rocky reef amid kelp forest.

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Seaotters.com is dedicated to raising awareness about California's threatened sea otters and the role research plays in the species recovery and conservation. It's a collaboration of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, U.C. Santa Cruz, U.C. Davis, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, among others. Seaotters.com is also home of the world's first HD live stream of southern sea otters in the wild.