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The sharp looking spines are soft to the touch and disappear into the skin when disturbed. If this visual defense doesn't work, the sea cucumber will expel its respiratory system. When this occurs in the wild it can regrow the lost organs; however, in captivity the animal will almost always die.
The California sea cucumber can stretch its body up to 40 cm in length. It is the largest sea cucumber along the Oregon coast.
It feeds on small organisms and marine detritus by pressing special tentacles into the ocean sediments and rocks.
Sea cucumbers have occasional predators including the leather star, sea otters and man. People will sometimes dry and eat the cucumber's tough, long muscles.