Sea lion wakes and vomits up something alive!
The sea lions on San Cristobal Island are truly the kings of the beaches. They act like they own the waterfront and even the sidewalks and patios of the businesses along it. This young male sea lion had found a spot on the sidewalk outside a local pizza joint. Sleeping soundly, not far from the beach, he seemed like he was out for the night. But suddenly, he was up on his haunches and looking very uncomfortable. He started to retch and complain loudly. His stomach was obviously upset for some reason. Restaurant patrons were enjoying a pizza and the sound of the waves washing up on shore nearby. They watched the young animal and recorded as he wandered slowly around. It seemed he was OK and then suddenly he vomited up a live eel. The eel wiggled on the sidewalk in front of him for a few seconds. The sea lion quickly grabbed the eel in his jaws and began biting and shaking it.
Unable to believe his eyes, one of the pizza lovers sprang to his feet and went closer for a look at what was happening. He recorded the sea lion again as it swung the eel around and made sure it was safe to eat. The eel is actually a tiger snake eel, a common sight in the waters around San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos. This sea lion is young enough that he still depends on milk from his mother, but he also consumes some solid food. Either he caught the eel himself or was fed the eel by his mother, but it obviously wasn’t dead when he ate it the first time. The eel must have been struggling in his stomach, or possibly even biting him before he vomited. With other seals around, this hungry fellow wasn’t wasting time to eat it a second time.
Seeing a seal vomit was completely unexpected but seeing him vomit a live animal was completely bizarre!