GaryT's picture

Seals

Observed: 1st April 2010 By: GaryTGaryT’s reputation in Mammals
Seals1apr10_ensenada,mexico
Description:
Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

the naturalist man's picture

Sealions

We can rule out seals for a number of reasons:
1: there are no seals in Baja California
2: seals have very small front flippers and these have exceptionally long ones
3: seals do not have ear flaps, just a hole in the side of their head

However, there are three species 'sealion' found here the commonest being the Californian sealion - the other two are Steller's sealion and the northern fur seal (fur seals are really very hairy sealions rather than seals).
We can rule out the fur seal as they rarely come ashore in this area. Steller's sealions are much larger than Californian sealions and far more timid. They are also much paler in colour; both cows and bulls.

Therefore, these are Californian sealions as identified by cabbageleek above. The one 'stood up' at the back is the dominant bull, you can tell this from the very large forehead or sagittal crest. he is an old animal as he is very dark in colour with a pale face; the pale face usually develops at around 15 years of age and only if he is the dominant male. Note the old, large scar on his flanks, he's clearly been in a few mating battles.

This is obviously taken outside the breeding season as the animal front and right with the extended flipper is also a mature male. The males having the sagittal crest also indicates these must be Californian sealions as male Steller's sealions do not have this head bump.

Graham Banwell

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GaryT's picture

California Sealions

Thank you very much for this in depth explaination. Will definitely know for next time. Brilliant.