The sea lion is a popular animal attraction at zoos and sea parks, where they are generally being trained to do tricks with hoops and balls. The sea lions are very popular animals because of their high intelligence and also because of their quirky character.
Where Does The Sea Lion Live?
They are found in all climates, in both southern and the north, hemispheres and every ocean with the exception of the Atlantic Ocean. The sea lion can often be found around large harbors of the world where groups of them gather together to bask in the sun and feed. The sea lions generally live in coastal areas where there is a good supply of food and land close by for them to have a rest from swimming and hunting when they leave the water.
Sea lions are very social animals. Groups often rest closely packed together at favored places on land or float together in “rafts” on the ocean’s surface. They may be often seen “porpoising,” or jumping out of the water to speed up their swimming. Sea lions have also been seen “surfing” breaking waves. These animals are opportunistic eaters, eating rockfish, mackerel, squid, octopus, small sharks and herring. Sea lions are prey for orca killer whales and great white sharks.
Today there are 7 different species of the sea lion found in waters around the world. Their color ranges from golden brown in females and chocolate brown in males. Males reach 860 pounds (395 kg) and 7 feet (2.1 m) in length. Females grow to 230 pounds (120 kg) and up to 6 feet (1.8 m) in length.
Sea lions generally eat meat, although they are known to eat sea weed and aquatic plants sometimes. Sea lions are very playful marine animals and can be observed spending hours playing in the water.
Mating and Breeding
Female sea lions usually give birth to their young on land, but it is not uncommon for the female to give birth to the sea lion baby in the sea. Most pups are born in June or July and weigh 14 to 20 pounds (7 to 9 kg). They nurse for at least 5 to 6 months and sometimes over a year. Mothers recognize their pups on crowded rookeries through vocalizations and smell. Pups also learn to recognize their mothers by smell and vocalizations. Breeding occurs a few weeks after birth. Male sea lions patrol territories and bark almost constantly during the breeding season.
- Just like human swimmers do they blow bubbles out of their nose to help them breathe underwater.
- You can tell who the “beach master” is of the harem by looking at the forehead; male sea lions have a bony bump on the top of the skull that develops at about age 5.
- Sea lion or seal? To know the difference, just look into the ears of a sea lion. Sea lions have small flaps over their ears and seals have no flaps at all.
Video by: NOAA Sanctuaries
Their population is growing steadily, and sea lions can be seen in many coastal spots. The current population is approximately 240,000.