Monday, February 11, 2013

Sea Lions Snuggle

California sea lion pup, Zalophus californianus, sprawled out with his buddies and his mom, on flipper touching each one just to be sure they're there. How do you tell the difference between a sea lion and a seal? If you go back to my previous post of a seal, you'll see that seals have little holes for ears but sealions have these cute little flappy ears like a dachshund. Also, sea lion feet still face downward allowing them to walk on them. Seals more or less squirm across the sand or rocks. Thus, you'll see sea lions further up on the rocks than you will normally find a seal. Still, it's amazing where either of them will pop up (on top of buoys for example or quite a distance up rocky shorelines). Finally, if you see them from a distance, sea lions will be sprawled all over on top of each other and are really social. Seals tend to like a bit of space between each other and will actually claw at other seals that get too close. As it turns out, both the seals and the sea lions are pupping right now so you can make quite a photo safari of the whole event!


Hanny said...

There was a big 'ol Sea Lion that used to live on a navigation buoy in Port Townsend. So big!

The Wayward Hawaiian said...

Wow! Wish I could have been there with my trusty camera. Is he still there? I just did a quick check and the range of the California sea lion and the Stellar sea lion overlap. The CA sea lion gets upwards of 600 lbs and the Stellar sea lion gets upwards of 1000 lbs so, if it was REALLY REALLY BIG, it might have been a Stellar sea lion (the males are HUGE!).

If you want to see more of them, there are lots of Stellar Sea lions up in Alaska. Just catch the tour boat in Seward which will take you around the Kenai Peninsula. There were colonies of Stellar Sea Lions and all kinds of whales as well (fin whales, killer whales, humpback whales...)! Apparently, however, the babie sea lions (pups) were smaller and less well nourished because the fishing trawlers were catching all the cod leaving the less oily and less nutritious pollock for the sea lions. Of course, I've seen pollock in the stores as well so...perhaps not good times for the sea lions up North... Thanks for checking in!