Crabs are one of the favorite foods of sea otters. Each individual sea otter specializes in 2-3 types of food that they prefer to eat, and their preferences usually come from their mother! Researchers at the Elkhorn Slough have recently discovered that sea otters serve an important function in their ecosystem by keeping the crab population in check. The crab population is so abundant in the Elkhorn Slough that the mud banks were collapsing due to all the crab holes. Further, the crabs feed on sea bugs/slugs that keep the algae in check, and if there are too many crabs, then they eat all the slugs. With the crab population under control such that the slugs can eat the excess algae, the eelgrass has become greener and more healthy. Healthy seagrass is important for the planet, as it soaks up carbon dioxide (a major contributor to global warming) and provides a natural habitat for fish nurseries. This happy sea otter is doing her part for the ecosystem by feasting on crabs!
Technical Details: Canon 7D, Canon 500L + 1.4x, ISO 400, f 6.3, 1/1600 sec.