INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – In honor of the beginning of summer and pool season, the Indianapolis Zoo is sharing what it’s like to swim with a sea lion.
In a video released Monday, Diego, a male California sea lion, can be seen splashing and diving throughout the zoo’s sea lion habitat. You can also see what it’s like for Diego to interact with guests through the exhibit’s underwater window.
The zoo fitted an iON camera to a special ring used in Diego’s training to capture the footage.
Here are a few fun facts about Diego and other sea lions:
- Diego was born at the Indianapolis Zoo in 2004 and just celebrated his 12th birthday on June 16. He’s also the Zoo’s largest sea lion, weighing more than 500 pounds.
- Sea lions are skillful swimmers, gliding quickly and gracefully through the water. Though they usually cruise between 5-10 mph, they can reach speeds up to 18-20 mph for short bursts.
- While these marine mammals can be very large — males can grow up to 8 feet and weigh as much as 800 pounds — they are surprisingly agile on land and can easily climb around their rock-covered habitat.
- The 120,000 gallons of salt water inside the Zoo’s sea lion pool remain between 60-65 degrees year-round — a chilly swim for humans, but a perfect temperature for sea lions, who have an extra layer of blubber covering their large bodies to help keep them insulated.