Sea lions are marine mammals characterized by earflaps, flippers at the end of their limbs, the ability to walk on their four, and short, thin hairs.
- Sea lions live along the coasts and islands of the Pacific Ocean.
- The average lifespan is 20-30 years.
- As you may have noticed, sea lions are very similar to seals. So how can we distinguish them? Look at their ears. If you see a small earflap on each side of its head, you are looking at a sea lion. Seals just have a tiny opening for their ears.
- Sea lions consume large quantities of fish daily.
- The smooth body of the sea lion is ideal for deep dive in the ocean (up to 600 feet or 180 meters) in search of fish and squid.
- Because sea lions are mammals and have to breathe, they cannot stay under water forever!
- Despite their adaptations to aquatic life, sea lions are going onshore for reproduction. Usually, males, called bulls, leave water in the spring to claim lands on ice, rocks or shore. Bulls are several times larger than adult females, called cows. During the breeding season, each adult bull tries to collect as many cows as possible to form his “harem”, which may even have number of 15 cows! Several days or weeks after bulls have settled on beaches and rocks, breeding females come to shore to join them.
- Female sea lions usually give birth to a pup each year. Pups are born with their eyes open and their bellies ready for their mother’s rich milk. Pups are able to swim right after they are born, and they can walk in just 30 minutes!
- Some species of sea lions are easily trained and are often a popular sight in zoos and aquariums.