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Food and Feeding Behavior of Steller and California Sea Lions

Clifford H. Fiscus, Gary A. Baines
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1378115 195-200 First published online: 26 May 1966


Sea lions taken on land usually have empty stomachs. To obtain sea lions with food in their stomachs, 34 Steiler sea lions and 7 California sea lions were taken at sea. Stomachs of California sea lions contained squids, hake and anchovies. Stomachs of Steiler sea lions taken off California and Oregon contained flatfishes and rockfishes; those taken in Alaskan waters contained capelin, sand lance, rockfishes, sculpins, and flatfishes; one had fed on salmon. California sea lions were observed 39 miles and Steller sea lions 85 miles offshore. Large groups feed within 15 miles of land. Farther offshore, sea lions usually occur singly or in small groups of 2 to 12 animals. In summer and early fall, at least, the majority of animals may leave hauling grounds early in the morning and return in late afternoon. No extensive predation on commercial fishes was found. One sea lion contained food amounting to 9.4% of its body weight.

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