Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sea Lions from the Portland Zoo


One of the largest of the pinniped family, male Steller sea lions can weigh up to 3,000 pounds, and females up to 770 pounds. Males are 10 to 12 feet long (they can be larger than a bear) and females average around 9 feet in length. Females are usually about one-third the size of males.

Reproduction/life span

Males maintain large harems of females after they reach social maturity at 5 to 7 years (and are able to defend a territory). Breeding season occurs from May through June in Oregon. Gestation takes about 9 months after which female sea lions give birth to one pup. Pups weigh around 50 pounds and are nearly 4 feet long at birth. Pups are born dark brown but in 4 to 6 months they shed to a lighter brown. Females give birth about every 1 to 2 years after reaching sexual maturity at 4 to 5 years. Males reach sexual maturity at 5 to 7 years. Steller sea lions live for approximately 20 years.

Stellar Cove Sea Lions

The exhibit is home to two males, named Augustus (Gus) and Julius. Gus and Julius were born at two different Sea World Parks in 1987, and came to the zoo from Connecticut's Mystic Aquarium. They are each fed between 25 and 35 pounds of fish a day, depending on the time of year. Both of these animals are blind.

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