There’s a reason they’re called sea LIONS. And this is it.
A recent video captured by a wildlife photographer known as “Loriannah” shows a sea lion viciously dispatching a mid-sized blue shark. According to an Instagram post, the footage was taken aboard a Princess Monterey Whale Watching Boat in California’s Monterey Bay—an area known for its vibrant marine ecosystem.
“Warning: graphic content. Nature isn’t always a pleasant thing to watch for some people,” wrote Loriannah in the video description. “Sea lions are opportunistic feeders, according to the Marine Mammal Center, which means they go for easy meals. That includes squid, herring, and even small sharks.”
The short video shows a sea lion rising to the ocean’s surface while gripping a shark with its jaws. The marine mammal thrashes the entire shark’s body out of the water, ripping out its throat in the process. Then it gulps down a bite of flesh as a gull looks on, hoping for scraps. It’s a violent—and compelling—piece of footage.
“Much like the land-based kings of the African savannah, this marine mammal puts on a visceral display of raw power as it quite literally goes for the throat of this blue shark,” wrote Nature is Metal, which re-shared the video. “While fish and squid are the usual staples in this aquatic lion’s diet, these marine mammals are known for their adaptability and opportunism.”
According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, sea lions are found in the North Pacific from British Columbia down to Baja California. The predatory mammals are known to reach 8 feet in length and 800 pounds in weight. They are often targeted as prey by orcas and great white sharks—the true apex predators of ocean ecosystems.