Sea Lions Don’t Sweat the Cold at the OKC Zoo

Because sea lions spend the majority of their day swimming, our team of marine mammal caretakers ensure that the water temperature remains between 70 and 75 degrees throughout the colder months. While the Zoo's sea lions are always provided with access inside, their natural layer of blubber also works to maintain a comfortable body temperature when seasons change. Throughout the winter months, our animals continue to voluntarily participate in training sessions, wild encounters and their daily presentations. 

In addition to training sessions, our sea lions also participate in daily enrichment consisting of interactions with a multitude of unique enrichment items –  including a floating raft and a swinging hammock, both made from donated fire hose. Our two youngest sea lions, Cash and Phoenix, have taken a particular interest in our two newest enrichment items. 

Phoenix, born in 2016, has excelled in her training development. She regularly participates in daily presentations alongside her parents Pearl and Xander. She currently weighs a little over 100 pounds and will reach up to 220 pounds at full maturity when she’s 5. Phoenix interacts with several enrichment items including cloth strips that resemble kelp and toys dangling above the water. These items allow Phoenix to explore new things every day in her environment. 

Our newest addition, Cash, will be turning 6 months old on Christmas Day! Cash currently weighs 58 pounds and is becoming more and more vocal. Cash has been following his mom, Pearl, during training sessions to our presentation area. While there, he spends time exploring and socializing with the other sea lions including sister Phoenix. They have had several playful interactions chasing each other around the pool. Cash receives a variety of enrichment every day including socializing with trainers, playing with toys and water splashing. Recently, the new fire hose hammock has become his frequent resting spot. If you don’t see him on exhibit, he is probably napping inside. Young sea lions rest frequently throughout the day.

Stop by and see the sea lions on your next trip to the Oklahoma City Zoo!

 – Erin Cornfield and Sierra Chappell, marine mammal animal caretakers

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