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Steller Sea Lion

Eumetopias jubatus

Steller sea lions, also known as northern sea lions, are the giants of the Otariidae family, which includes sea lions and fur seals. They stand out with their luxurious long fur, shining in shades from light brown to a sun-kissed golden yellow. 

When it comes to size, these guys are impressive! The adult males are the big bosses, stretching up to a massive 9.8 feet (about 3 meters) long—that’s about as long as a car—and can weigh as much as 2,500 pounds (around 1,134 kg), which is like 12 giant pandas put together! 

The females, while still quite large, are a bit more petite, reaching lengths of up to 6.6 feet (about 2 meters)—that’s taller than most humans!—and tipping the scales at up to 600 pounds (around 272 kg).

Steller sea lions love the chilly waters of the North Pacific Ocean and have made cozy homes along the coasts of places like Alaska, British Columbia, and the Gulf of Alaska. They’re also fans of far-off spots like the Kuril Islands and the Commander Islands. 

These mighty sea lions prefer homes where the land meets the sea, especially if there are rocky areas, steep cliffs, and rugged islands they can lounge on. 

But don’t think they’re just landlubbers; they’re also quite at home in the open waters, diving and swimming in the vast ocean that’s their backyard.

Steller sea lions have quite the appetite and love a varied diet. They mainly eat fish like herring, pollock, and hake, which are common in the waters they live in. 

But they don’t just stick to fish; they also eat squid and octopus, adding some variety to their diet. Sometimes, they might even snack on crustaceans (like crabs) and small mammals. This shows they’re not picky eaters and can adjust to eat different things based on what’s available in their environment.

Steller sea lions enjoy a very social lifestyle, gathering in large groups known as colonies. Their activity spans across both day and night, with peaks of activity observed during early mornings and late afternoons. 

Communication within these colonies is rich and varied, encompassing a range of vocalizations such as barks, roars, and growls, which play a crucial role in their social interactions and the establishment of social hierarchies.

Beyond their vocal communications, Steller sea lions are also known for their playful nature. They engage in various activities that highlight their agility and social nature, including swimming in dynamic patterns, interacting with floating objects or seaweed, and even body surfing on waves. This playfulness is not only a form of social bonding but also contributes to their skill development and physical well-being.

Steller Sea Lions are part of the Otariidae family, which includes other sea lions and fur seals, and they fall under the Eumetopias genus. There are two types of Steller Sea Lions: the western Steller Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus) and the eastern Steller Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus jubatus), each living in different areas.

Sadly, the number of Steller Sea Lions has gone down a lot, and they’re now seen as a threatened species, meaning they need our help to survive. Laws like the Endangered Species Act are in place to help protect them. 

People are working hard to lower the risks caused by human activities and to keep their ocean homes safe and healthy. These efforts are really important to make sure Steller Sea Lions can bounce back and thrive again.
Proud Male Wild Steller Sea Lion graphic
© By naturediver - Stock.Adobe.Com
Steller Sea Lion Clickable
NPS Photo/Jim Pfeiffenberger -, public domain
Proud Male Wild Steller Sea Lion picture
© By naturediver - Stock.Adobe.Com
steller sea lion photo
By wirestock - Envato Elements