Sea Lion Bitten Anyone?

Discussion in 'Paddling Safety' started by Astoriadave, Mar 23, 2014.

  1. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Question came up here: are there any documented attacks of a sea lion on a human in a kayak? Sure, I have experienced a few false charges and had them surface next to my boat, but never heard of any attacks.

    The false charges occurred when I paddled the local waterfront and inadvertently paddled near a site where fish guts are regularly introduced into the water, residue of a processing operation. [Fully legal in the Columbia River lower estuary environment, FWIW.]
     
  2. nootka

    nootka Paddler

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  3. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    And totally benign. No aggressive behavior, not even a nip. Looks like exploratory curiosity.
     
  4. nootka

    nootka Paddler

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  5. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Yow! I did not see that! That is about the last shot in the video. Looks like the diver is concerned.

    Would this head grab be play or aggressive behavior? Seems like a slash or bite on an extremity leading to blood in the water would be an attack.
     
  6. nootka

    nootka Paddler

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  7. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Confirming that, at 1:58 in this one, mouthing of heels, isolated diver. Clearly not aggressive.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=T5U_FGoCVN0

    The real test would be what happens when a sea lion is protecting its territory. Probably nobody is stupid enough to dive into areas like that.

    Worth noting that the colony frequently visited by divers near Hornby is juveniles, probably not sexually mature. On the floats at a local mooring basin we get the rejects, almost all males who lost out in the mating game. A lot of these guys are huge. They definitely defend their position on the float. The unwary humanoid who tries to walk the float will really cause a ruckus. No bites I know of. Usually, the human backs off, maybe deterred by heacy fishbreath. :D
     
  8. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

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    Nice video. The ones doing the test nips all appear to be young ones. There are places that are known for swimming with sea lions (La Paz Mexico and Galapagos are two that immediately come to mind), and it is generally the young ones you swim with (I think I remember hearing somewhere, it is mostly young females).

    Back to the original question - there are no attacks that I know of in NorCal. We pretty much only have California Sea Lions here - Stellars are pretty rare.

    I have had the odd male or two make a charge at me, but they pull off well before they get to me. The latest time was a male hanging out below a dock where fish were being cleaned by fishermen - so I assume he was protecting his area for a free meal.

    I have also had a herd of sea lions blow bubbles under my boat. Caught this after about the 2 minute mark in this video from last fall out in Monterey Bay (California) on a whale watching paddle. The sea lions and humpbacks were somehow working together to catch anchovies:

    [shortyoutube]http://youtu.be/l_ptbcZtOvc[/shortyoutube]

    http://youtu.be/l_ptbcZtOvc

    A guy named Chuck Freedman had a young Cal Sea Lion hop up on his back deck a few years ago when he was addling in SoCal. His paddling buds got photos of it: http://s167.photobucket.com/user/tsunam ... t=3&page=1
     
  9. Jurfie

    Jurfie Paddler

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    LOL! The pup sure looks like it was enjoying the free ride! :lol:
     
  10. datakoll

    datakoll Paddler

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    any bites from divers ?
     
  11. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

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    I recently saw a little snipit on a local community channel that showed divers and some of the local areas they explore. Their underwater footage showed sea lions playing around with the divers, swallowing their (exhaled) air bubbles etc. They were described as the divers as curious, and not at all dangerous. I'll try to keep that in mind the next time I'm charged by a herd of 40 female sea lions all barking at me out at Race Rocks!
     
  12. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Datakoll,

    Check out the videos beginning of this thread ... mostly juvenile sea lions, lots of mouthing of divers, but no biting.

    Can't say that would be typical behavior of mature animals. I initiated this thread, asking for documented aggression on paddlers, none reported so far. I suspect if one were to intrude between a harem and the bull, you could get bit, but no reports here.
     
  13. datakoll

    datakoll Paddler

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    I knew one Sea Lion on Haro Strait. We floated together. You now I'm in animal communications...I would grunt n the lion would look at me like I am nutto. You know my story on the colony at Tatoosh Island ?

    And you watched the lead video where an Orca appears to size up a paddler boarder for a meal ?

    What the mammal eating Orca do is rip the head off baby seals, crush the skull and swallow the brains. Yummy ! You have seen the remains, right ?

    The evidence suggests sea lions are intelligent, they know a kayaker is not wanted food, and as far as we know, do not see us as a threat worth expending energy on.

    But allowing a wild animal to nuzzle your neck from behind ? Or swallow your head.... ?

    No reason to NOT expect your Sea Lion is in a bad mood. There is an element of respect here all Sea Lions and Orca would recognize and continue recognizing that quality.
     
  14. thunderseed

    thunderseed Paddler

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    Interesting! I guess they are just curious according the majority of information you guys have found. I always hear people talking about how aggressive they are but have never heard of anyone getting attacked by sea lions or seals.
     
  15. nootka

    nootka Paddler

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  16. chodups

    chodups Paddler

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    Great post Nootka! I watched a few. Lots more to go.
     
  17. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Very cool video Nootka. That guy is very good at getting some great footage.
     
  18. nootka

    nootka Paddler

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    another one

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUfFqjAFKcI[/youtube]
     
  19. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

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    Resurrecting an old post with this recent video from Richmond, BC
    [shortyoutube]http://youtu.be/wpDPvq81sC4[/shortyoutube]
     
  20. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    This has raised quite a ruckus. Word I got suggested the sea lion was conditioned to expect handouts of bait fish at that site, and reacted to an absence of fish. Grabbed the girl in lieu.

    Atypical of sea lions in the wild, which would not be conditioned to expect food from swimmers, etc.