While sea lions and seals look pretty much the same, both having long front flippers and long sleek bodies, they are different in two ways:
- Sea lions have small ear flaps on each side of the head, whereas seals just have tiny opening for their ears.
- Sea lions are able to rotate their hind flippers forward to help them move on land. Seals cannot do this, and must wriggle, roll, or slide to get out of the water and to move around on land.
Did you know?
- A group of sea lions and/or seals in the water is called a raft. Males are called bulls and females are called cows.
- Male sea lions can range from 150 lbs to the over 2200 lbs!
- Sea lions and seals live for 30-40 years.
- During the breeding season, males roar loudly and continuously to establish or defend their territories.
- Females bark loudly so that their pups can pick their mothers out from among hundreds of sea lions.
- Sea lions/seals can dive up to 600 feet and stay submerged for up to 40 minutes!
- Most sea lions eat fish, squid, crabs and clams but the largest sea lion, the steller sea lion, also eats seals.
- Sea lions and seals can swim up to 25 miles per hour.
- Sea lions and seals have long whiskers. Each whisker is loosely attached to the upper lip where it is rotated around with the underwater currents to help locate any food swimming nearby.
Impact of Commercial Fisheries on Sea Lions and Seals
Unfortunately, not only do sea lions and seals get caught in fishing nets, in some areas, sea lions and seals are shot by fishermen who blame them for damaging their nets.
Did you know?
- Manatees are slow moving, non-aggressive, and generally curious creatures.
- They can weigh up to 1200 lbs and reach up to 10 ft in length!
- The manatee’s closest land relative is the elephant.
- On average, most manatees swim about 3 to 5 miles per hour. However, they have been known to swim up to 20 miles per hour in short bursts.
- Half a manatee’s day is spent sleeping in the water.
- Manatees must surface for air regularly, but they have been known to stay submerged for up to 20 minutes at a time!
- Well known for their gentle, slow-moving nature, manatees have also been known to body surf or barrel roll when playing.
- Manatees can live up to 60 years.
- They have a large upper lip that is used to gather food, as well as for social interactions and communications of emotions such as excitement and fear.
- Manatees are believed to have the ability to see in color.
- Researches have found that manatees may use taste and smell, in addition to sight, sound, and touch to communicate.
- Manatees are capable of understanding tasks, show signs of complex learning and demonstrate long term memory.
Impact of Commercial Fishing on Manatees
Though hunting manatees was banned in 1893 and manatees have few natural predators (sharks, crocodiles, killer whales and alligators) manatees are listed by the World Conservation Union as vulnerable to extinction. The current main threat to manatees in the United States is being struck with boats or slashed by propellers.
Sea turtles are characterized by a large, streamlined shell and non-retractile head and limbs. They may be olive-green, yellow, greenish-brown, or black.
- Sea turtles do not have ears or teeth!
- Sea turtles can see well under water but are shortsighted in the air.
- Sea turtles are found in all the world’s oceans, except the Arctic.
- Sea turtles have an extraordinary sense of time and location. They are highly sensitive to the Earth’s magnetic field and use it to navigate.
- Leatherbacks have the longest migration of all sea turtles. They have been found more than 3,000 miles from their nesting beaches.
- Sea turtles range from 25 in. long and 85 lb. to 6 ft long and 2,000 lbs!
- The leatherback is the only sea turtle that does not have a hard shell, instead it has several bony plates beneath a leathery coat.
- Most researchers believe that sea turtles have an acute sense of smell in the water, allowing them to locate food even in murky water
- All eight species of sea turtles are listed as threatened or endangered on the U.S. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants List.
- Some sea turtle species enjoy floating on the ocean’s surface, napping and/or sunbathing. Sometimes, birds will perch on their shells while the turtles do this!
- Some sea turtles can live 80 years!
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) protects all species of sea turtles. The U.S. and 115 other countries have banned the import or export of sea turtle products.
Sea turtles help sustain our ecosystem in two very important ways:
1) They fertilize it. Sea turtle eggs contribute nutrients to dune vegetation. As sea turtle numbers decline and fewer eggs are laid, less nutrients are deposited into the sand dunes which results in beach erosion due to lack of vegetation.
2) They maintain it. Sea turtles are one of the few creatures that eat sea grass. Sea grass must be kept short to remain healthy, and beds of healthy sea grass are essential breeding and development areas for many species of fish and other marine life.
Impact of Commercial Fishing on Sea Turtles
Thousands of sea turtles drown in shrimp nets each year because sea turtles forage in the same waters where commercial shrimpers trawl. Caught in a fisherman’s net, they are unable to go to the surface to breathe and suffocate to death in the net.
The good news is that since 1989, federal law requires that a Turtle Excluder Device (TED), a metal grid trapdoor inside a trawling net that allows turtles to escape nets, be installed on the nets of all U.S. fishing trawlers working in areas populated by sea turtles.