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A crafty theft! (1 Viewer)


Just before beginning a case study on a sea otter mother and her pup I witnessed the incident pictured in the attached photo in which a wily western gull stole a piece of crab right out of the paws of the as yet still pregnant mother to be. This was a crafty bit of thievery as this female was a seasoned, experienced sea otter and this was the only time that I saw a gull even come anywhere close to stealing food from her.

It was common to see the ever opportunistic gulls attending to feeding sea otters, especially otters who were feeding on crabs. A second attached photo shows two western gulls trailing my mother and pup pair while they are eating. In such instances feeding otters typically kept on the move ahead of the gulls while eating their catch in order to make it more difficult for the gulls to steal their food.

A third photo depicts a failed attempt at a theft. While the pup was eating a food item (that she had taken from her mother) by her mother's side an immature western gull attempted to move in and steal the food from the pup. The mother was having none of that! She easily thwarted the gull's attempt and aggressively chased it briefly, sending the gull packing.

Gulls are way too cool! I always tell people to keep an eye on gulls if they are nearby because you just never know what interesting things you might see from them.

Sorry about the poor quality of the photos but it's their content that is of interest here.


  • Fig. 31 Lutra-w. gull stealing food-1.JPG
    Fig. 31 Lutra-w. gull stealing food-1.JPG
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  • Fig. 30 L & I trailed by western gulls-2.JPG
    Fig. 30 L & I trailed by western gulls-2.JPG
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  • Fig. 43 Lutra and Isis-Gull incident-11.JPG
    Fig. 43 Lutra and Isis-Gull incident-11.JPG
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KC Foggin

Super Moderator
Staff member
Opus Editor
United States
Dang! This shows that Gulls can be a feisty character and not a bit afraid either.

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Goodness!!! What an interesting post. I'm sorry I missed it when you first posted it PB.

Lisa W

Staff member
I saw something similar to this in Oregon a few years ago. A young seal caught a salmon in the harbor. I think two gulls were on him almost as soon as he surfaced with the fish. It was an enjoyable 15 minutes or so watching the seal maneuver to keep the gulls success to a minimum.


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