To listen to this article, please select Control + Shift + Z to launch the pop-up player.

Browser out-of-date!

You are using an out-of-date web browser, to avoid problems when using A-Z Animals and other sites we strongly recommend you upgrade to the latest version of your web browser!
Get Firefox Get Google Chrome Get Opera Get Microsoft Internet Explorer Get Apple Safari
Remove Advertising
A-Z Animals - Animal Facts, Images and Resources A-Z Animals - Animal Facts, Images and Resources A-Z Animals - Animal Facts, Images and Resources

Animals >>

Sea Lion


 Add to Phobia Filter  Contribute  Print  Listen
Colchester Zoo
Sea Lion
Sea Lion
Sea Lion
Sea Lion
Sea Lions are found in all climates, in both the north and southern hemispheres and every ocean with the exception of the Atlantic Ocean. The sea lion is often seen around the big harbors of the world where groups of sea lions gather together to feed and bask in the sun.

The sea lion generally lives in coastal ares where there is a good food supply and land close by for the sea lion to have a rest from swimming and hunting in the water. The sea lion has 4 flippers which the sea lion is able to turn around when on solid ground, allowing the sea lion to walk on land.

The sea lion is often a popular attraction at zoos and parks, where the sea lions are generally being trained to do tricks with hoops and balls. The sea lion is a popular animal due the intelligence of the sea lion and also because of the quirky character which many sea lion individuals possess.

Today there are seven different species of sea lion found in waters around the world, These are the Steller sea lion which is also known as the northern sea lion as it is found in the North Pacific Ocean, and the Steller sea lion is the largest sea lion species; the Australian sea lion which is a small species of sea lion found on the south and west coasts of Australia; the South American sea lion, also known as the southern sea lion and is found along the west coast of South America; the New Zealand sea lion which is also known as Hookers sea lion is found around the south island of New Zealand and also the sub-antarctic islands; the California sea lion is found along the coasts of the north Pacific and is believed to one of the most abundant and intelligent species of sea lion today; the Galapagos sea lion is found exclusively around the Galapagos islands and is thought to be a distant relative of the California sea lion.

The only other sea lion species around was the Japanese sea lion, which was thought to have become extinct sometime during the 1950s. The Japanese sea lion was thought to have been related to the California sea lion and became extinct through hunt and the introduction of commercial fishing.

Sea lions are sleek and generally carnivorous animals although sea lions are known to eat sea weed and aquatic plants at times. Sea lions are playful marine mammals and can be observed spending hours playing in the water.

Sea lions generally gather on rocky, coastal land to breed. About a year later, the female sea lion will give birth to a single sea lion pup. Female sea lions tend to give birth to their young on land but it is not uncommon for the female sea lion to give birth to the sea lion pup in the water.

Sea lion pups are nursed by the mother sea lion until they are about six months old. Baby sea lions learn to swim when they are a couple of months old and it is then that the baby sea lions will go out and learn to hunt with the mother sea lion.

Sea lions are often seen in large groups of sea lions. Sea lions hunt in groups and in pairs and group numbers increase during the mating season. There have been instances where sea lions have been aggressive towards humans in the water. These acts are thought to be because the sea lions either want to play or they are male sea lions displaying and enforcing their dominance within their terrritory.

Sea Lion Foot Facts

  • The sea lion has flippers in place of where its feet would be in order to help the sea lion move through water quickly, a substance that is eight times denser than air.
  • In each flipper of the sea lion there are five skeletal digits, like toes, that give the sea lion more movement in its flippers but these are not always visible.
  • Some species of sea lion are able to rotate their back flippers forward, so they are able to actually walk on all four flippers when on land.
  • Adult sea lions have five claws on each of their two front flippers which the sea lion use to hook onto prey and to give them more grip when walking on land.
  • The sea lion uses its front flippers to propel itself through the water with the back flippers acting as stabilisers meaning that they are not used a great deal in swimming.

Sea Lion Teeth Facts

  • The sea lion has between 34 and 38 teeth which include incisors, canines, premolars and molar teeth.
  • The incisors at the front of the mouth of the sea lion are quite small but are very sharp and are used for biting down on and holding onto prey.
  • The canine teeth that are found behind the incisors in the mouth of the sea lion are large, conical, pointed and often slightly curved and these do most of the hard work.
  • The molars and premolars in the mouth of the sea lion can vary in number but are very similar and have a slightly cup-like shape.
  • The teeth of the sea lion are designed for grasping and tearing rather than chewing food and its for this reason that baby sea lions shed their milk teeth before birth.

Sea Lion Comments (10)

bernie

"i enjoyed learning about the sea lions! i wish i knew about this arcticle !"

Keiley-Shae

"This didn't help me with my science homework, but the artical is very interesting."

Ellie

"I studied sea lions. I wish I had known about this article!"

Showing 3 of 10 comments.

Show More Comments

Post Comment

Your Name:

Article Rating:

Your Comment:


Article Tools

Print Article
View printer friendly version of Sea Lion article.
 
Listen to Article
Listen to audio version of Sea Lion article. Hot key: CTRL key + Shift key + Z key

Sea Lion Facts

Kingdom:
Five groups that classify all living things...
Animalia
Phylum:
A group of animals within the animal kingdom...
Chordata
Class:
A group of animals within a pylum...
Mammalia
Order:
A group of animals within a class...
Carnivora
Family:
A group of animals within an order...
Otariidae
Scientific Name:
Comprised of the genus followed by the species...
Otariidae
Type:
The animal group that the species belongs to...
Mammal
Diet:
What kind of foods the animal eats...
Omnivore
Size:
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is...
2.7-3.3m (9-11ft)
Weight:
The measurement of how heavy the animal is...
300-1,000kg (660-2,200lbs)
Top Speed:
The fastest recorded speed of the animal...
44km/h (27mph)
Life Span:
How long the animal lives for...
15-22 years
Lifestyle:
Whether the animal is solitary or sociable...
Herd
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct...
Threatened
Colour:
The colour of the animal's coat or markings...
Brown, Tan, Grey
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal...
Fur
Favourite Food:Fish
Habitat:
The specific area where the animal lives...
Coastal waters and rocky shorelines
Average Litter Size:
The average number of babies born at once...
1
Main Prey:
The food that the animal gains energy from...
Fish, Crabs, Squid
Predators:
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal...
Human, Sharks, Killer Whale
Special Features:Strong jaw and the ability to walk on land

Related Animals

Elephant SealElephant Seal
The largest species of seal in the world!
Fur SealFur Seal
Found only in the Northern Hemisphere!
Grey SealGrey Seal
One of the rarest species of seal on Earth!
Leopard SealLeopard Seal
The world's most aggressive seal species!
SealSeal
There are 30 different species worldwide!
WalrusWalrus
Inhabits the freezing waters of the Arctic Circle!

Palm Oil Campaign

Palm Oil Campaign

Save the rainforest. Save the orang-utan. Save the world.