A sea lion is helping visitors to an aquarium get in the festive mood by providing his own unique version of Christmas kisses under the mistletoe.
Newly-arrived California sea lion Captain is adding a fishy flavour to the yuletide celebrations at Tynemouth’s Blue Reef Aquarium with his pinniped pecks on the cheek.
The aquarium is offering a limited number of opportunities for visitors to enjoy a Christmas kiss following their daily seal and sea lion talks and feeds.
“Captain is extremely friendly and very used to being around humans and he thrives on the daily interactions he has with his keepers,” said Blue Reef’s Rosie Wiggin.
“He has been practising his smooching technique on staff for the past week and we all agree it’s high time he found some new targets.
“He doesn’t seem to need much encouragement, however the prospect of a tasty fish treat is definitely an incentive and, to be honest, he’d happily kiss people all day if he could.”
California sea lions are known for their playfulness, intelligence, and noisy barking.
They are extremely agile in water and also on land. This is because they have long front flippers that are strong enough to balance their weight on them.
Although once under threat, their populations have increased due to the protection afforded by the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Of the five species of sea lions worldwide, the California sea lion is the only one whose population is expanding.