Sea Lion Communication
Sea Lion Vocalizations
Any one that has spent time observing Sea Lions will tell you that they are very active when it comes to communication. They have plenty of ways to send messages to each other. While researchers have spent years observing them and recording them, they still have plenty more to learn before they can fully understand what all of their communication efforts mean.
It is true that Sea Lions can roar, but many people think that is a myth unless they have witnessed it themselves. They will continue to get louder and louder too should they feel threatened. Roaring is a way that they can protect their territory when they feel threatened. This is often enough to get both humans and other animals to leave them alone.
It is also true that Sea Lions know how to bark. In fact they often use this type of communication to interact with each other. The barking sounds are believed to mainly come from the males though. They use them when they are looking for females to be a part of their harem before mating occurs.
The can be heard making a variety of sounds that resemble honking and even the sound of trumpets. It is their array of sounds used for communication that can keep humans watching them for hours and hours. Sea Lions are believed to have excellent hearing both on land and in the water.
One thing that makes it hard for researchers is that Sea Lions form large groups. There is always so much communication going on that it is hard to focus on certain ones. However, this type of observation has helped them to learn many things. For example the pups are able to identify the calls and sounds on their mother’s instinctively. They don’t get mixed up with all the other sounds taking place. It is believed that from birth they are able to memorize what their mother sounds like. They also use smell to be able to find her.
When there is a threat to a harem or a colony of Sea Lions, loud trumpet sounds will be given. This is a signal to them all that there is danger lurking on land. Their instincts are to get into the water and off the land. It is complete chaos and many Sea Lions end up trampled in the confusion, especially the younger ones.
The fact that there is so much activity going on among Sea Lions though helps researchers to put it all into perspective. They have been able to identify sounds that are for mating, when these animals are in distress, and when they are happy and content. There are plenty of sounds too that can be observed between the mothers and the pups. They are great caregivers that do all they can to prepare their offspring for their life ahead.
It is no secret that Sea Lions are among the most social animals in the world. Perhaps one day we will have enough information to further understand what all of their communication means. In the mean time though we will just continue to be impressed by it. This is a key part of their survival though and that means when Sea Lions are in captivity they definitely can’t be isolated. They need the social interaction with others to remain mentally healthy.
If they are isolated they may stop eating and then become very ill. It is less of a problem for the pups that have been abandoned or their mother’s have been killed because they don’t know any different yet. For those Sea Lions though that have been in the wild for a long time though, communication is something that they thrive on.