Sea Otter

Adult sea otters typically weigh between 14 and 45 kg, making them the heaviest members of the weasel family, but among the smallest marine mammals. Unlike most marine mammals, the sea otter’s primary form of insulation is an exceptionally thick coat of fur, the densest in the animal kingdom. Although it can walk on land, […]

Northern Fur Seal

Males have a stocky body with thick neck and dark grey-black colouration; females have a brownish throat with silver-grey undercoat. Small head with pointed muzzle, long whiskers, and pronounced external ear flaps. Extremely long hind flippers. It is mostly the females and sub-adults seen in B.C. waters (males tend to stay farther north, i.e. in […]

Northern Elephant Seal

The northern elephant seal is the largest of the “true” seals in the Northern Hemisphere. Adult males use their large, inflatable noses during the winter breeding season to resonate sound when vocally threatening each other. The largest colonies of northern elephant seals are found off southern California in the Channel Islands. They have one of […]

California Sea Lion

Dark brown colouration and almost black when wet. Males have a large, robust body, thick neck, and no mane; pronounced forehead (sagittal crest) crowned with a patch of light fur; dog-like head with a long, narrow snout, and small external ear flaps. Large hairless flippers can support body for “walking”. Only adult and sub-adult males […]

Steller Sea Lion

The species is named for the naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller, who first described them in 1741. The Steller sea lion has attracted considerable attention in recent decades, owing to significant and largely unexplained declines in their numbers over an extensive portion of their northern range in Alaska. Light tan to reddish brown colouration; can appear […]

The Harbour Seal

Also known as the common seal, it is a true seal found along temperate and Arctic marine coastlines of the Northern Hemisphere. The most widely distributed species of pinniped (walruses, eared seals, and true seals), they are found in coastal waters of the northern Atlantic, Pacific Oceans, Baltic and North Seas. Colouration can vary widely […]

The Killer Whale or Orca Whale

The famous killer whale or orca whale is a toothed whale belonging to the oceanic dolphin family, of which it is the largest member. Distinguishable by its black-and-white patterned body, Orca whales can be found in all of the world’s oceans in a variety of marine environments from Arctic and Antarctic regions to tropical seas.  […]

The “false” Killer Whale

Species of oceanic dolphin that is found in oceans worldwide but mainly frequents tropical regions. The name “false killer whale” comes from the similar skull characteristics to the killer whale (Orcinus orca). It is highly sociable, known to form pods of up to 50 members, and can also form pods with other dolphin species. The […]

What are barnacles?

Specialized family of Acorn Barnicle (Coronula diadema) in generally only found on Humpback Whales and result in the white patches left on the whales skin when they fall off. A type of gooseneck barnacle may also attach itself to the shell of the Acorn Barnacle.  A completely different species of barnacle (Cryptolepas rhachianecti) will grow […]

The Fin Whale

Also known as finback whale or common rorqual, it is a cetacean belonging to the parvorder of baleen whales. It is the second-longest species of cetacean on Earth after the blue whale. American naturalist Roy Chapman Andrews called the fin whale “the greyhound of the sea … for its beautiful, slender body is built like […]