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Scientists investigate mysterious case of orca that swallowed 7 sea otters whole


A stranded female orca (Orcinus orca) was found with six sea otters (Enhydra lutris) inside her stomach.  (Image credit: Photo credit: Sergey V. Fomin)

Scientists in Russia discovered seven perfectly intact sea otters in the belly of a beached orca, according to a new study. The doomed killer whale was found far from its normal hunting grounds, raising the question of what it was doing there.

The female orca (Orcinus orca) was found in 2020 on the coastline of one of the Commander Islands, which lie offshore the Russian Far East in the Bering Sea. Scientists performed a necropsy on the animal and discovered not only the seven dead sea otters (Enhydra lutris), which collectively weighed 258 pounds (117 kilograms), but also 256 cephalopod beak parts. 

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