Watch Fearless Sea Lion Leap Up Onto the Back of a Boat to Be Fed Fish by Hand

Written by Sharon Parry
Updated: October 23, 2023
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This brave sea lion is treating the boat like a drive-through for sea creatures! It clings onto the back as a delighted passenger feeds him live fish from their store. The clever sea lion also manages to hitch a free ride back into the harbor where there will probably be some more free food.

As the clip below shows, sea lions are very clever at identifying where easy sources of food are.

Watch the Incredible Footage Below

How Do Sea Lions Normally Behave?

These guys normally live along coastlines and feed alone or in small groups. When there is a lot of food they may feed in larger groups. They can often be found gathered at the mouth of a river where there is a high density of fish. Sea lions can also be seen sunbathing on rocky shorelines. In the water, they can reach speeds of 20 miles an hour and dive to depths of 900 feet!

Is It Wise to Feed Sea Lions?

We are told that this is ‘Pancho’ the sea lion and he is famous all over the world! This California sea lion has earned a reputation in Mexico marinas for being a fish thief. He has perfected the skill of leaping on board boats and persuading the occupants to part with their fish.

This has become such a problem that the local authorities have issued advice urging people not to feed fish to sea lions. By feeding one particular species of animal, you can disrupt local ecosystems and food chains.

sea lion

Californian sea lions are not normally dangerous.

©Daniel Avram/

Are Sea Lions Dangerous?

Any animal that is as large as a sea lion (they can weigh 600 pounds) and that has sharp and pointed teeth is potentially dangerous. Most of the time sea lions are not dangerous and don’t bother humans. However, there have been incidents where sea lions have attacked humans. The Steller sea lion is both the largest and most aggressive species. California sea lions, on the other hand, do not have a reputation for being aggressive but some attacks have been recorded.

One example is a spate of attacks during the early summer of 2023 off the coast of California. However, this was put down to a poisonous algal bloom causing neurological problems amongst the sea lions. Their personalities were changed and it was like they were having a really bad acid trip!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Marcos del Mazo/

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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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