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Marine Mammals

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Pacific Gray Whale (Eschrichtius robustus)
Pacific Gray Whale
(Eschrichtius robustus)

Gray whales are among the best known large whales. They can frequently seen swimming along the shores of the western states. Long endangered, these animals are just starting to recover from excessive hunting. They grow to 50 feet and are often seen covered with patches of barnacles.

Florida Manatee (Trichechus manatus)
West Indian Manatee
(Trichechus manatus)

Manatees are graceful and peaceful creatures. They feed on water plants, and inhabit the waterways and shores of Florida. Other species are found in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. They are slow creatures, and are in danger of extinction due to careless boaters. Most manatees can be seen with boat motor scars on their backs.

California Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus)
California Sea Lion
(Zalophus californianus)

Sea lions are probably the best-known members of the pinniped family. They inhabit the western coast of the United States and Canada. These animals are clumsy on land, but underwater their graceful ballets can reach speeds of 25 mph. They can dive to over 1000 feet, where they feed primarily on fish and squid.

Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris)
Sea Otter
(Enhydra lutris)

These adorable animals were once hunted to the brink of extinction for their fur. Inhabiting the coastal waters of the western United States, they are now protected and are making a comeback. They are often seen lying on their backs eating their favorite food - crustaceans.

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