Massive, rare sea lion unexpectedly appears at California pier. What makes him special?

by ZeuCer

Though a massive sea lion basking in the sun at a California pier was surrounded by hundreds of other sea lions, he’s the one getting the attention. That’s because he’s a bit different than the others that typically chill on the docks of PIER 39 in San Francisco. He’s a Steller sea lion, PIER 39 wrote in a recent newsletter. The species is the “largest of the Otariidae family which includes both sea lions and seals” PIER 39 said. Male Steller sea lions can grow as long as 11 feet and weigh as much as 2,500 pounds, according to the Marine Mammal Center. Photo by Marc Webber © The Marine Mammal Center The Steller sea lion, which was first sighted on May 4, is estimated to be about 3 years old, Giancarlo Rulli, a spokesperson for The Marine Mammal Center, said in an email to McClatchy News. “While it isn’t uncommon to see them, they are often hauling out (coming onto shore) on remote islands or stretches of beach that are inaccessible to people,” according to The Watershed Project. PIER 39 is typically home to California sea lions. “Steller sea lions are similar in appearance to California sea lions and are sometimes confused with them,” Rulli said. “However, Steller sea lions are much larger and lighter in color.” The males can grow as long as 11 feet and weigh as much as 2,500 pounds, while the females can grow to as long as 9 feet and weigh up to 1,000 pounds, according to Rulli. “Steller sea lions are light tan to reddish-brown in color,” Rulli said. “They have a blunt face and a boxy, bear-like head.”

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