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Known for being popular attractions at zoos, sea lions are marine mammals that have short, thick hair; a big belly; and long fore flippers. They can walk on all fours and have external ears. They can be found in shallow waters where there is an abundant food supply.
See the fact file below for more information on the sea lion or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Sea Lion worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
TAXONOMY AND ETYMOLOGY
- Sea lions are part of the Otariidae family, which also includes the fur seal. The Otariidae family has 6 living species of sea lions: Steller sea lion, Australian sea lion, South American sea lion, New Zealand sea lion, California sea lion, and the Galapagos sea lion. The Japanese sea lion species became extinct in the 1950s.
- Sea lions also belong to the same scientific group as seals and walruses. This group is called Pinnipeds. This term means “wing foot” or “feather foot” because of the flippers they have at the end of their limbs that help them swim in the water.
- Male sea lions can range from 2 to 3 meters in length and can weigh from 200 to 1,000 kilograms while females can reach 1.3 to 2.7 meters in length and 50 to 270 kilograms in weight.
- Sea lions can turn their limbs forward, enabling them to walk on all fours. Their ears have flaps that they can turn downward so water does not enter their ears while swimming or diving.
- The bodies of sea lions are covered with a thick layer of blubber or fat to keep them warm in the chilly sea water. Their body color differs depending on the type of species, but it generally ranges from light to very dark brown, and some even have reddish coverings.
- They also have very sensitive whiskers that help them detect fish in the water, and their eyes have a reflective membrane that allows them to see in the dark underwater.
- Sea lions are fit for the extremes of marine life. They rely on their excellent sense of smell, hearing, and touch to catch food in the water. When on land, their front flippers offer strong support for their bodies.
- When they dive, sea lions’ nostrils automatically close up, allowing them to stay in the water for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. They can swim at a speed of 29 kilometers per hour, helping them escape from killer whales and sharks.
- Sea lions are generally not violent animals. However, humans are advised to stay at least 15 meters from them in order to avoid violent or aggressive actions from the sea lions.
- Overwhelming human presence may cause sea lions to undergo stress, causing them to retreat and sometimes even abandon their locations completely.
HABITAT AND DIET
- Sea lions live along the coastlines and islands of the Pacific Ocean. Their range extends from subarctic to tropical waters, except for the Northern Atlantic Ocean.
- The six different species of sea lions are found in different sea coasts around the globe, including California, South America, New Zealand, Australia, and the Galapagos Islands.
- Sea lions are carnivorous, which means their diet consists mostly of meat. They eat fish, squid, crabs, and clams. The Steller sea lion species also eats seals.
- Sea lions swallow their food whole, and they often toss the fish or squid up until it can slide down their mouth and into the stomach. When eating food with hard shells, they use their flat back teeth to crush the food before swallowing.
- Sea lions begin their breeding period during the summer months from January to March. Despite being marine animals, sea lions still reproduce on land.
- Male sea lions or bulls leave the water during the spring to claim their territories on ice, rocks, or the shore. They eat large amounts of food, so they can live without eating while they guard their territory and the female sea lions.
- Each adult male sea lion gathers as many female sea lions or cows to his territory, which is called a harem. Each sea lion harem or family group can have up to 15 female sea lions.
- Female sea lions give birth to only a single pup per year. These pups are born with their eyes open and with a long dense coat of hair called the lanugo. Mothers nurse their pups up to six months of age.
- Three species of sea lions are already categorized as endangered by the The World Conservation Union: the Australian sea lion, the Galapagos sea lion, and the New Zealand sea lion.
- Some stranded sea lions get rescued, treated, and sheltered by zoological institutions. These sea lions have usually become stranded due to illness, injury, or abandonment.
- Sea lion populations continue to decrease due to the drastic effects caused by humans on their ecosystems. One of the most effective methods for conserving sea lions is through minimizing human interaction with them.
Sea Lion Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the sea lion across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Sea Lion worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the sea lions which are marine mammals that have short, thick hair; a big belly; and long fore flippers. They can walk on all fours and have external ears. They can be found in shallow waters where there is an abundant food supply.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Sea Lion Facts
- Meet the Sea Lion
- Fact Check
- Sea Lion Anatomy
- Seal vs Sea Lion
- Life Cycle
- Draw My Home
- Think Tank
- Sea Lion Species
- Interactions with Humans
- Sea Lion Origami
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Link will appear as Sea Lion Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, August 3, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.