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Sea Lions


    Sea Lions
    Sea Otters 1
    Sea Otters 2
    Elephant Seals




What is a sea lion anyway??
California sea lions (Zalophus Californianus, meaning: with crest and of California) are know for their intelligence, playfulness, and noisy barking and roaring (hence the name). All California sea lions are brownish in color but the females tend to be a light golden brown. Males may get as large as 1,000 lbs and seven feet in length while females grow to 220 lbs and only six feet in length. They have a dog like face and as the males age the top of their head often grows lighter.

Where can I find a sea lion?? California sea lions are can be found all over the western coast of the United States ranging as far south as the southern tip of the Baja peninsula in Mexico to as far north as Vancouver Island and British Columbia. Another population of California sea lions in the Sea of Japan became extinct. No one knows why but the most probable hypothesis is that they were killed off during World War II. If you are looking to see a sea lion you probably won’t have to go as far as the coast because most of the trained “seals” in zoos are California sea lions.
Seals VS. Sea Lions
Just to get it out of the way, seals and sea lions are different. Sea lions have ear flaps where as seals have just holes in the side of their heads for ears. Sea lions have a flexible pelvic girdle that enables them to move around on land more easily on all four flippers just as if they were legs, but seals have to pull themselves around with their front flippers. In the water both seals and sea lions excel. The sea lions use their front flippers to pull them along in the water while the seals use their hind flippers to propel themselves.

Do sea lions molt??
Sea lions molt once a year after the breeding season, but not as obviously as seals. Sea lions actually have fur more like a dogs than anything else, just short brown hair that falls off slowly and grows back in the summer.

Do California sea lions have preditors??
Many species of shark hunt sea lions and the occasional orca has been known to eat one now and then. Baby sea lions are the most vulnerable due to their lack of knowledge of their surroundings and small size. The most harmful creature to sea lions is not sharks or orcas, it's humans. Water pollution takes its toll as well as marine debris. Fishing nets and ropes can strangle and cut into the sea lion's skin and block their passage to food eventually starving them. Sea lions are now protected from poaching under the marine mammal protection act of 1972.

Other interesting facts

-sea lions have better hearing under water than they do above
-sea lions can swim up to 25 miles an hour
-sea lions live to be about 20 years old
-sea lions eat mainly fish and crustaceans
-the current sea lion population is around 200,000

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