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Why Is This Sea Lion Chasing These Poor King Penguins?

author

Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

clockMar 8 2017, 20:55 UTC

ARGH. Run, dudes, run! ProjectPenguins via YouTube

You may have seen a 2013 video featuring a mischievous sea lion chasing a bunch of King Penguins making the rounds again online recently. Although it’s fun to watch the waddling wonders escape the wrath of the blubbery menace, a little context might be useful here.

Sea lions tend to eat a wide variety of fish, including herring salmon, sardines, and anchovies. They occasionally manage to snatch up a juicy squid or octopus, and every now and then, they eat a penguin. This video appears to show a hunt for said birds taking place, but unusually, the sea lion turns away at the last moment and flees the scene without a catch – even though it could have achieved one.

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Although it’s not clear why this happened, the chances are that the penguins were moving towards the cameraman, who they likely know isn’t a threat. The sea lion perhaps spotted this, and being a little more wary of humanity, turned and ran.

 

At least these penguins will have a good story to tell their mates.


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