Otter food may not all come from the ocean, but it is definitely fishy! River otters eat mostly fish, frogs, crayfish, crabs, and mollusks, with an occasional small mammal or bird. Sea otters eat many of the same things, but mostly sea urchins, abalone, crabs, mussels, and clams, which they crack open against rocks they hold on their stomach. Otters have long, sensitive whiskers that help them find prey, even in murky water.
Some species, like the Asian small-clawed otter, also use their hands to probe into mud or under rocks to find a tasty meal that might be hiding there. River otters use lots of energy and digest their food very fast, so they eat several times a day. Sea otters need to eat 20 to 25 percent of their body weight each day. That’s a lot of abalone!
The otters at the San Diego Zoo are fed carnivore diet, carrots, and either squid or trout. They also get small amounts of treats for enrichment, like crayfish, worms, potatoes, or yams.