Do you think a sea lion is the same as a seal? You are not the only one to make this mistake. Learn more Sea Lion Facts for Kids so you don’t make the same mistake twice. While both the sea lion and seal belong to the same family – Otariidae – the two animals are actually quite different. Unlike seals, sea lions have ear flaps that you can see and these amazing mammals can actually walk on land using their flippers.
My Unique Habitat
Sea lions inhabit all types of climates and are found both in the northern and southern hemispheres. Other than the Atlantic Ocean, sea lions live in every ocean in the world. You will often be able to see these massive creatures basking in the sun in groups close to large harbors where they come to feed.
Sea lions usually live in coastal areas, which have a good supply of food. Also, sea lions tend to hunt in water and need land nearby, so that they can come out and get some rest after all the hard work!
We Are Seven!
Sea lions are categorized in seven different species. These species are:
- Steller Sea Lion: This species is also known as the northern sea lion and inhabits the north Pacific Ocean. It is the largest of all the species.
- Australian Sea Lion: As the name suggests, this species lives close to the Australian shores on the south and west of the island continent.
- South American Sea Lion: Also called the southern sea lion, this species inhabits the western coast of South America.
- New Zealand Sea Lion: These are found along the southern coast of New Zealand and the sub-Antarctic islands. They are also referred to as Hookers sea lion.
- California Sea Lion: This species inhabits the coast of north Pacific Ocean and are said to be in plenty. The species is also known to be extremely intelligent
- Galapagos Sea Lion: This species is found just on the magnificent Galapagos Islands and is said to be distantly related to the California sea lion.
- Japanese Sea Lion: Unfortunately, this species is extinct. The species became extinct during the 1950’s due to hunting and commercial fishing.
Photo Credit: John Morgan (Under CC License)
Me and My Pup
Sea lions tend to congregate along rocky, coastal areas for breeding. When pups are born, they are about 2.5 feet in length and weigh 15 pounds.
The female gives birth to a single pup on land which is nursed by the mother until it reaches the age of 6 months. A baby sea lions learns to swim when it is about 2 months old and thereafter it begins accompanying the mother and learns how to hunt.
Me and My Diet
Sea Lions are primarily carnivorous and hunt for fish, such as sardines, anchovies, herring and salmon. They also aren’t averse to eating octopi and squids. A sea lion has 34 to 38 teeth and the anatomy of the teeth is such that these mammals can catch their prey and rip them apart. They do not chew their food and tend to swallow it whole.
Photo Credit: Sara Yeomans (Used under CC License)
Interesting Sea Lion Facts For Kids
- Sea lions can attain speeds of 30 mph in bursts, but they generally tend to swim at 11 mph
- A sea lion can live up to 20 years, but there have been instances when these creatures can cross 30
- You can tell the age of a sea lion by counting the layers on their teeth
- A sea lion uses its front flipper to swim, while the back flippers act like stabilizers
- Some species of sea lions can rotate their hind flippers forward, allowing them the luxury of using all four flippers to walk on land
- A sea lion pup sheds its milk teeth before it is born
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