Sea Lions and Seals

Yesterday, I showed you some of the tide pool invertebrates that I saw at La Jolla Shore, but I promised you seals, so here they are! Be sure to check out the video.

11-Fat Seal

This is a Harbor Seal, also known as the Common Seal in places. The first seals were spotted in La Jolla in 1994, and since then a healthy colony has established itself there.

13-Children's Beach

The colony moved to the area around this beach, known as Children’s Pool. The sand is a good place for the seals to haul out at night, and the breakwater creates a calm area for the young to practice swimming. On the opposite side of the breakwater are rocks that the seals use to rest when the low tide exposes them.

10 - Seal Playing

This is one of the young seals practicing its swimming in the pool. He was jumping and being very cute!

23 - Sleeping Seals

These are a few of the adult seals resting on the outside of the breakwater. The little channel is open to the ocean, and the seals use it to get to the rocks.

12-Stretching Seal

This guy  is stretching silly and showing us his teeth. Harbor Seals eat a large variety of animals, including squid, crabs, and small fish.

9-Seal Staring

Seals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the beach has been closed at night ever since a webcam caught several cases of people abusing the seals after dark. Normally, Harbor Seals choose sites far away from people to haul out, making this a very unique location to observe them up close.

16 - Sea Lion

La Jolla also has a thriving colony of California Sea Lions. These are related to seals, but with a few big differences. For one, sea lions can pull their hind legs under their body, and walk on land, while seals flop around awkwardly. This female is walking out of the water onto her rock for a nap.

22- Sea Lions Fighting

Secondly, sea lions have small ears, while seals are earless. These two males are fighting over a prime rock. Female sea lions choose the best beaches to breed on, and the males fight to control those beaches for access to females. There was no real damage done here, and I think they were just testing each others limits.

19 - Sea Lion Scares Bird

It’s also fun to scare the birds.

21 - Sea Lions Finning

Sea lions will hold their flippers out of the water to control their body temperature. I don’t know why, but they all seemed to like this spot. You can also see the top of the La Jolla kelp forest behind them. Kelp is a giant seaweed that can grow to 150 feet tall. For comparison, the average scuba diver should not dive below 130 feet. Here, the tops just reach the surface of the water.

Anyway, I just wanted to show you all the amazing wildlife in the area, so I’ll end with a picture of a squirrel telling all his friends that he’s the king of this bush.

8-Screaming Squirrel

~The Homesteading Hippy

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