International Sea Lion Dental Hygiene Week
In honour of International Sea Lion Dental Hygiene Week, we are delighted to feature our September cover Steller sea lion who has more gaps and spaces in his smile than the Canucks’ puck-blocking star defenceman, Chris Tanev.
Seriously, our cover sea lion displays exactly the dental gaps he is supposed to have.
Young Stellers are often very friendly with scuba divers, even wanting to play with their human underwater guests. Photographer Myles Clarke, whose wonderful Osprey photo graced our July cover a year ago, cleverly opted to stay in the boat when he encountered this playful Steller sea lion.
As exuberant and fun-loving as the young ones may seem to be, do not invite one to your kid’s next birthday party without considering the fact that in addition to being fun, they do have sharp teeth. Both males and females are born with formidable growth targets that they are genetically predisposed to fulfilling. In other words, hello Steller sea lion pup, goodbye ice-cream for all other guests! Preferred Steller prey in BC waters includes herring, hake, sandlance, salmon, dogfish, eulachon, sardines, rockfish, flounder, skate, squid and octopus. If you think that list suggests that Stellers are not picky eaters, you have totally grasped the point. Before we get all judgemental and drag out our Canada Food Rules, remember that Steller girls and boys are close to three feet in length and weigh 13-25.5 kilos (30-50 lb) at birth. They have only five to seven years to chub up to their target weight of about 550 kilos (1000 lb) for females, and a whopping 1135+ kilos (2500 + lb) for males. Stellers have neither the time nor inclination to be picky eaters.
No doubt the local Steller sea lions are enjoying our weather. Management and staff of The Pender Post hope that you too are able to enjoy the warm, dry spell while it lasts. Please join us in remaining diligent about following the COVID-19 safety guidelines. Wash your hands frequently, wear a mask, especially indoors and in public places, and please, please remember that physical distancing protects us all.
Thanks to the websites of UBC Marine Mammal Research Unit (mmru.ubc.ca) and www.paws.org