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Sea lion, all the information

Sea lion, all the information


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Sea lion:the characteristics of this wonderful aquatic mammal, very similar to the seal and distant relative of the walrus.

THESea lionsI'm semi-aquatic mammals also known as sea ​​lions. Just like seals, iSea lionsI'mpinnipeds, that is, they have the four limbs modified in flippers. There are seven species of sea lions, all of which are characterized by the presence of external auricles, long front fins and the ability to walk on the ground using the four flippers.

Difference between seal and sea lion

We said thatsea ​​lionissealI'mpinnipeds, an inexperienced eye observing two pinnipeds for the first time could be confusing. That's why we explain the difference between a sea lion and a seal right away.

These are two completely different animals, easy to distinguish at first sight. If you are perplexed, a trick to distinguish these two aquatic mammals is to observe the head: only the sea ​​lionit possesses the small external auricles, which are completely absent in the seal.

The sea lions, besides beingrelatives of seals, are also relatives of the sympathetic walruses.

Sea ​​lion

Where does he live? its natural habitat is found from subarctic waters to oceanic tropical waters except for the extreme north of the Atlantic Ocean. In particular, thesea ​​lion lives in the coldest seas of South America, along the coast of California, in Alaska and in the sea of ​​the Aleutian Islands.

The average life is about 25-30 years. Weight can fluctuate according to species and sex. For example, the Californian sea lionmale weighs on average 300 kg and is 2.4 meters long, while the female of the same species weighs only 100 kg and is 1.8 meters long. Much larger is theStellar sea lionwhich can weigh even more than 1000 kg, growing up to 3 meters in length.

They can walk on land and swim at a speed of 16 knots (about 30 km / h). Of the seven sea lion species three are classified asendangered species:

  • Australian sea lion
  • Galàpagos sea lion
  • New Zealand sea lion

TheJapanese sea lionunfortunately it became extinct between the 70s and the 80s, due to intense hunting for commercial purposes.

In the photo below, Stellar's sea lions (species Eumetopias jubatus) are stationed on a rock off the coast of Raspberry Island (Alaska).

What do sea lions eat?

THESea lionsthey are godsgluttons!They consume a lot of food: they eat 5-8% of their body weight at each meal. This means that they ingest about 7-16 kg of food at each meal!

What does a sea lion eat?
Everything you find in the sea! From seafood to fish. The sea lion feeds on:

  • Seafood
  • Squid
  • Salmon
  • Hake
  • Whiting
  • Anchovy
  • Herring
  • Redfish
  • Lamprey
  • Dog fish
  • Other fish

Sometimes they collaborate with penguins, porpoises and dolphins to encircle large schools of fish and feed on them. Sea lions sometimes follow dolphins using their hunting efforts.

The females feed and hunt within 10 - 100 km from the coast, while the males can move up to 450 km from the coast, but only where the water temperatures allow.

THESea lionsthey are in turn preyed upon byorcasand come onbig sharks. The white shark, for example, loves to hunt sea lions and seals, as these two prey have very fatty meats. Sharks attack sea lions by bypassing them while they rest on the surface of the water. Generally a sea lion that is attacked by a shark has a better chance of surviving (and reaching the shore) only if it is bitten in the back area of ​​the body.

Reproduction and mating

There are differences between the species. TheCalifornia sea lionit has a reproductive cycle of twelve months, of which three months are required for the implantation of the fertilized egg and nine months for the actual gestation. Typically, the birth takes place between June and July. Being the mammals, the females remain with the cubs on dry land and nurse them for about ten days, on the eleventh day, the females begin to move away from the nest to hunt and continue to breastfeed for another three days.

The little sea lions left on land tend to gather, socialize and play with each other, forming a kind of natural asylum! Upon returning, the females call their kittens with distinctive noises (the call is selective for their child, a mother and her cub can distinguish each other's calls). The sea lion mother continues to care for and feed the baby. When the baby is ready, he will move away from dry land and start hunting with his mother.

THEmale California sea lionsthey play no role in raising puppies but are more interested in the young than males of other species. It has been observed, in fact, that male sea lions can help cubs in difficulty or protect them from predators during their first swimming experiences.

The weaning of the young takes place in one year but breastfeeding can continue even up to the second year of age.

THESea lionsthey hunt, reproduce and… dive continuously! They can stay at sea for two weeks without ever touching land, returning to the surface to rest. Some sea lions migrate, while others are stationary (such as the California sea lion).


Video: California Sea Lions: crazy facts you NEVER knew! (July 2022).


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