Perhaps two of the most adorable sea creatures to swim around the big blue oceans are sea lions and sea turtles. Both of these sea creatures are easily recognizable and people love to see them in the wild, learn about them, and admire their beauty.
Despite their cuteness, sea lions and sea turtles are complex creatures with high intelligence levels, interesting behavior patterns, and are both threatened by humans and plastic waste in our oceans.
Read on below to learn some of the most interesting facts you probably did not know about both sea lions and sea turtles!
Interesting Facts About Sea Lions
Sea Lions are Very Social
Sea lions are very social critters! Being surrounded by their kind is important to them and more often than not you will never see a sea lion alone. The mammals always travel in large colonies, but they may change which colonies they hang out with a few times during their lifetime.
There are 7 Species
Although many people think sea lions are one single species, there are actually seven species of sea lions and they are all a bit different. The seven species include:
- California sea lion
- Steller sea lion
- Australian sea lion
- Galapagos sea lion
- New Zealand sea lion
- Southern American sea lion
- Japanese sea lion
They Have Fur
Even though their bodies look like slick and smooth skin, they actually have a thick layer of fur. This fur keeps them warm in icy cold ocean water. They also have a thick layer of blubber to help keep them warm and toasty as well.
They Can’t Live in the Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is a big no-no for sea lions. There are no sea lions that live in the Northern Atlantic Ocean, but they can be found just about anywhere else – from the tropics to the artic.
Male Sea Lions are Aggressive
Male sea lions are quite aggressive, in particular when it comes to mating. A male sea lion sets up his own territory before mating season begins and waits for a suitable female to come along. During the waiting process, if another male enters his established territory, lots of hissing, barking, and aggression occurs.
If provoked enough, the male will defend his territory and start a fight with the intruding male. Serious injuries and sometimes even death can happen. However, most of the time, there is simply a lot of loud noises, aggressive shoving, and charging at each other at full speed. Yikes.
Interesting Facts About Sea Turtles
They Have Impeccable Navigation Skills
Sea turtle have one of the strongest built-in GPS navigation systems out of most sea creatures. Sea turtles are able to use the earth’s magnetic fields to navigate around the globe. Turtles will travel thousands of miles over their lifetime.
To show just how powerful their abilities are, female sea turtles are able to return to the exact beach where they were born, where they then lay their own eggs. Each part of the coastline has its very own unique signature when it comes to magnetic fields and this is how the turtles are able to return to the exact spot.
They Cannot Hide in Their Shells
When people think about turtles, they often have the image on a cute turtle retracting its head into its shell. While some turtles can do this, sea turtles do not have this ability. Since they cannot pull their heads into their shells, it makes them more vulnerable to outside threats in the ocean and on land.
They Live at Sea Their Whole Lives
Sea turtles live at sea their entire life, except when females lay their eggs about every two to five years. It takes six days for the eggs to hatch and then mom leaves the tiny baby sea turtles, also called hatchlings, to their own defenses. The baby turtles are immediately attracted to the water and will live in the wide-open ocean for the first few years of their life – it is dangerous out there! If they are able to stay alive, they will settle in more protected areas such as estuaries, bays, and in waters that are closer to the shoreline when they are older.
As we have learned, sea lions and sea turtles are amazing and special creatures that make our ocean diverse and fascinating. From a sea turtle’s powerful navigation skills to a sea lion’s highly social tendencies, there is something awe inspiring for everyone learn with these sea critters!