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Sea otters in Elkhorn Slough, CA, an area of salt marshes and seagrass beds not usually considered their habitat. Judy Gallagher / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Increasingly, large predators like mountain lions, alligators and killer whales are moving into ecosystems not traditionally associated with them. Mountain lions have been spotted prowling grasslands, alligators have been seen lounging on Florida beaches and killer whales have been spied swimming in freshwater rivers.

Many hypothesized that the animals were taking over new territories as their populations rebounded due to conservation efforts. But research published in Current Biology Monday suggests that they are actually taking back what was rightfully theirs.

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