Sea lions are highly social animals that live and feed in groups known as colonies. They are also natural swimmers and divers, able to remain underwater for up to 20 minutes at a time. Like other marine mammals, they require sleep to function properly. Sea lions often spend several hours at a time sleeping, both on land and in the water.
While sea lions can fall asleep in the water, they prefer to find a quiet spot on the shore where they can fully relax. This California sea lion was napping on a swath of sand at Children’s Pool Beach, a popular spot for tourists to get up close and personal with sea lions.
The swath of black volcanic sand is regularly dotted with sea lions during warm months, attracting visitors from all over the world. The sand and sun provide sea lions with a cozy bed to catch some Z’s.
A sea lion’s sense of smell is very strong above water, used by males to compete for mates and females to locate pups. Their whiskers are full of nerve fibers, which means they can feel vibrations from the sea floor as well.
While most people are fascinated by the sight of a rocky headland packed with sea lions, it is important to remember that sea lions are wild animals that may not be used to human interaction. In fact, the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) states that any behavior that disturbs migration, breathing, resting, nursing, breeding or feeding is a violation of the law and can result in jail time.