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Monday, June 4, 2012

Baby Sea Lions

Females give live birth to the pups on land. Generally only one pup will be born at a time but occasionally there will be twins. The pups immediately start to consume milk from their mother’s body. This milk contains more than 50% fat which helps them to grow at a very fast rate. This is also responsible for helping the young Sea Lions to develop the layers of fat called blubber that they need to stay warm.

These layers of fat need to start forming before the young pups will be able to survive in the water. When they are born they do feature a coat of hair that does protect them from the cold until they develop enough blubber. Then this hair will start to fall off, and it will be almost completely gone by the time they first enter the water with their mother.

The mating with the male she is now with will occur in either late June or July. So she will be nursing her current pup while pregnant with another. The gestation period is approximately 11 months and by this time the pup she is caring for right now will be able to take care of itself.

The mother’s will remain on land or ice with their pups for the first couple of weeks of life. Then they are ready to move into the waters. While they instinctively know how to swim, they are taught how to move about in a way that is going to help them based on the behavior of the waters. They also start to learn how to hunt for fish even though they will continue to get their main nutrition from drinking the milk their mother produces.

The young Sea Lions are also taught by their mothers to stay away from predators. They are very vulnerable during the first six months of life. This is due to their coloring being more brown until that time. They can also be trampled on land from other Sea Lions when there is reason to be scared and a stampede starts

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