You almost get the idea that this sea lion didn’t want the Blue Planet II crew to bother it and as a result decided to get a little aggressive. Sea lions can certainly look tough when they want to despite otherwise looking like they might be all warm and cuddly if you got to know them. I don’t think a rational person needs to test that theory out however since it’s far too likely that they’d get walloped for their efforts. Sea lions didn’t come by their names on accident after all. The males are the main reason why the sea-loving creatures got their names, since they have what amounts to a mane and are known to roar in a most menacing manner when they’re defending their territory or harem.
The good thing is that sea lions usually won’t seek to bite first if they can avoid it or find an escape route. These creatures usually only bite when there’s no other option and they feel threatened. A show of force is, by most animals, a means to back someone off and indicate that they do feel threatened. It’s almost like the big kid in the school yard that doesn’t bother anyone making themselves look even bigger and meaner in order to warn others to stay away. They might look tough and intimidating but it’s mostly a show to get that person to back away and leave them alone.
However with sea lions it’s usually best to back away regardless since if they really do feel as though they’re in danger they will likely bite, or perhaps even try to push a person around. Given that even the females can weigh up to 100 kg, it’s not likely that a human being is going to be pushing them back with the needed force it would take to make their point. Sea lions are intelligent creatures that know when to run and when to fight, and getting them to move aside as you can see in the video is not as easy as it might sound.
In fact one area that’s been having problems with sea lions throughout the past few years is Astoria, Oregon, where California sea lions have been reportedly crowding the docks and making a general mess. Being protected by federal law there’s not much that can be done about the sea lions other than trying to scare them off. Unfortunately loud noises and the use of the inflatable air dancers that are typically seen in car dealerships has met with only partial success, since the sea lions don’t see them as threats any longer. Waving your arms and appearing larger than they are only goes so far if they come to realize that you’re not going to do anything and can be ignored.
This begs the question of what to do when a sea lion is lounging in your path and refuses to move. You can’t harm them thanks to federal law but you also will have a serious problem if you try to out-bully them since they’re that much bigger and by no means a stupid animal.