Wednesday May 30 is World Otter Day, a day where your newsfeeds will undoubtedly be filled with cutesy photographs of fuzzy little otters juggling stones or holding hands while they sleep.
But don’t be fooled by this PR campaign. Behind those beady eyes lies a dark secret: Otters are assholes. It’s often pointed out that humans would be foolish to apply their moral compass onto nature; however, seriously, otters are total jerks.
Not convinced? Here’s a brief look at the mass of evidence against these sadistic, semiaquatic sickos.
For starters, violence and aggression is the norm for sea otter mating, with males regularly seen holding females' heads underwater, biting their faces, and forcing them into submission. One study found that a considerable portion of southern sea otters die as a result of trauma from their hyper-aggressive sexual culture. It’s also not unheard of for the males to force themselves onto pups who have not yet reached sexual maturity.
Forced Interspecies Sex
They don’t just stick to their own species, either. As documented by a study in Aquatic Mammals, there are also numerous reports of male sea otters having violent "forced copulation” with baby harbor seals. Using a similar method of biting and drowning, the young seals often die as a result because the encounters are so aggressive. Equally, the difference in size between the two animals means they can suffer from internal perforation.
As if that wasn’t grim enough, sea otters will occasionally hang on to a dead otter and continue to rape its corpse.
As the study above notes: “In one prior report on breeding-associated mortality, a tagged territorial male sea otter held a struggling female underwater until her body became limp and then copulated repeatedly with her carcass. Ten months later, this same male was observed with the carcass of another female sea otter. In both cases, the male was swimming, diving, guarding, and copulating with the carcass.”