Shivering Baby Sea Lion Surprises Boaters Out For A Ride
Yesterday in Laguna Beach, California, one fearless baby sea lion wanted a change of pace - so he decided to kick it with a few humans.
In a video shared by Newport Coastal Adventure, an ecotourism agency, on its Facebook page, an unexpected "hitchhiker" popped out from the water and decided that maybe sticking along for the ride wouldn't be such a bad idea.
The baby sea lion was "shivering," according to the video, suggesting that perhaps the surprise appearance was fueled by a need to catch some rays and warm up. Sea lions are warm-blooded mammals with the ability to do something about it when it gets a little too nippy even for them - it's called thermoregulation.
Basically, that's when sea lions expose their flippers to the sun, which then take in heat that travels throughout the rest of their bodies.
Rich German, a paddleboarder who's had more than a few close encounters with groups of dolphins and whales, shared the video on his own feed, mentioning that a similar incident had happened to him before. (Although in his case, a barking dog caused the sea lion who boarded his boat to jump back into the ocean before any video or photo could be taken.)
"This is cute no doubt, but not necessarily a good thing," German wrote about the video. "It's possible he's not getting enough food, lacks body fat and is getting cold ... and trying to warm up in the sun."
While it isn't unusual for sea lions to approach humans, sea lions have been running into trouble over the past few years; the issue of sea lion beach strandings has become a major concern in relation to their dwindling population. Hungry sea lion pups have been popping up along southern California coasts because their mothers have been unable to find enough nutritious food due to rising ocean temperatures, which make their usual supply scarce.
As a result, mother sea lions venture far from their babies to search for food - and being left alone for so long increases the likelihood that the sea lion pups wander off on their own, ultimately washing ashore on beaches.
But for some sea lions, all it takes is a helping hand to return them back to the waters they know and love most.
While we don't know for sure what this little guy's deal was ...
... at the very least, he had a great view from where he sat, completely free of charge.
Watch the video below to see more of this baby lion and his impressive tag-along adventure below.