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Seal Gifts and Sea Lion Gifts

Seals are typically sleek-bodied and barrel-shaped. Their bodies are well adapted to the aquatic habitat where they spend most of their lives. Their limbs consist of short, wide, flat flippers.

Sea lions are any of seven species in seven genera of modern pinnipeds including one extinct species. Sea lions are characterized by the presence of external ear. Their range extends from the subarctic to tropical waters of the global ocean in both the northern and southern hemispheres with the notable exception of the Atlantic Ocean.

Stellar Sea Lions

Learn about Stellar Sea Lions
The Steller sea lion, also known as Steller's sea lion or the northern sea lion, is a species of sea lion that can be found on and near coastal regions in the northern Pacific ocean. Its scientific name is Eumetopias jubatis, and it is the only species belonging to the Eumetopias genus.

The Steller sea lion is the largest species of sea lion, with adult males measuring anywhere between 9.3 and 10.7 feet in length, with an average length of 9.8 feet, and weighing between 990 and 2,470 pounds, with an average weight of 1,199 pounds. Females are slightly smaller, measuring 7.5 to 9.5 feet in length, with an average length of 8.2 feet, and weighing between 530 and 770 pounds, with an average weight of 580 pounds. Males are also generally wider in form than females.

A carnivore, the Steller sea lion subsists predominantly on a variety of fish and cephalopods. It tends to prefer to prey on schooling fish, but is an opportunistic hunter and will feed on whatever sufficient food sources are available. In rare cases, Steller sea lions prey on otters and seals. The Steller sea lion has few natural predators, being at risk to predation only by sharks and killer whales.

As marine predators, the Steller sea lion is well equipped to hunting and living in the water. A testament to this idea is the fact that it can dive deeper than 600 feet in the ocean to locate food. Steller sea lions have very thick layers of blubber as well as dense fur coats, both of which serve to protect them from the cold of deep northern waters.

Steller sea lions gather to breed in May of each year, at which point sexually mature males venture to distinctly defined breeding grounds in which they each define their own territory. Female Steller sea lions later join the males, and are able to move freely between territories. Males may each mate with multiple females. Pregnant females may also give birth on breeding grounds, mating again about a week or two after giving birth.

Interestingly, eggs fertilized in Steller sea lion mating do not implant in the female's uterus until the fall. Females typically give birth to one pup at a time, though twins occur infrequently. Mother Steller sea lions nurse their newborn pups for about two weeks, after which they acclimate their pups to greater distance from their mother. Young, however, can remain with their mothers for up to four years. The weaning period varies greatly in length among Steller sea lions.

Steller sea lions are currently considered near threatened by the IUCN. A more specific assessment comes from the Endangered Species Act, which categorizes the eastern population of Steller sea lions as threatened and the less abundant western population as endangered. This classification largely comes from a sharp, unexplained drop in the Steller sea lion population near Alaska. Meanwhile, the eastern population has faced a recent increase in population that in 2013 caused the Steller sea lion to be removed from the U.S. Endangered Species List.

About the Author
Jacob Maddox manages content for Wildlife Animals an educational wildlife and animal website.

Seal and Sea Lion Gifts




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