- Monday, 12 June 2017 10:00
This week has been a double celebration for some of our most popular and intelligent animals here at the Zoo. Our two sea lions Marvin and Clive share their birthday on the 11th of June! Marvin is turning 17 whilst the huge Clive is becoming 23! Both boys could live up to the age of 30 and live with two other males called Miguel and Merlin as part of our bachelor group. As a birthday treat they received lots of their favourite fish mackerel and sprats! Yum.
They are Californian sea lions who originate from the coast of Alaska all the way down to Central Mexico. Males grow to be much larger than the females and can weigh up to 55 stone. Clive is a whopping 42 stone and stands out the most amongst the others. The males also develop a larger neck covered in fur, which helps protect them when competing. They are part of the pinniped family, which also include seals and walruses.
Sea lions are highly adapted to living on the coast. The beach is the perfect place for them to sleep and rear young. They can use all 4 of their flippers to move around very comfortably and efficiently on land but are far more mobile and agile in the water. Sea lions use a variety of their senses to find food, their favourite being fish. Having their eyes on the front of their head like us allows them to see their prey easily beneath the surface whilst highly sensitive whiskers allows them to pick up vibrations of any movements in murky water. Here at the zoo we have a sea lion show which demonstrates a variety of different behaviours that replicates what they would do in the wild. This keeps them active and stimulated. The behaviours include catching hoops to work on their vision and neck muscles, balancing objects on their noses to stimulate their whiskers and back flips to escape their predators. They are all done using positive reinforcement techniques, which means the sea lions receive a tasty fish as a reward for each behaviour and aren’t forced to do anything they don’t want to!
Throughout the summer we have shows running every day at 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm and a later show on busier days so if you wish to see our amazing and entertaining sea lions in action or meet them, come and visit us!