- Sea Lions
- Polar Bears
- Bald Eagles
California Sea Lions Zelophus californianus califorinianus
California sea lions are the smallest of all sea lions. They’re pinnipeds– meaning “fin footed.” The ability to use their flippers are one of the differences between seals and sea lions. Another difference is a visible, external ear. Sea lions are strong swimmers, getting up to 22 mph underwater; they can hold their breath underwater up to 30 minutes.
About the Memphis Zoo California Sea Lions
"Remy", "Catalina" and "Buttercup" are our three youngest sea lions, who join"Teva" and call the Memphis Zoo home. Teva was born in June 2012. Sea lions have been part of the Memphis Zoo’s collection since 1955.
California sea lions are fully protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Our sea lions paint! They’re quite the artists, too, even if we say so ourselves.
Teva was hand-reared by keeper staff.
Sea lions are used by the United States Navy for retrieval programs, including search and rescue and retrieval of military hardware.
A group of sea lions can have a different name, depending on the circumstances. A large group of females and one male is called a harem. During the breeding season, a group of sea lions is called a rookery. When sea lions are in the water, they’re a raft, and while on land, they’re a colony.
The Memphis Zoo has one White-Necked Raven, named Roxy, found in the bald eagle habitat. Ravens, along with other corvids (crows, jays, magpies) are incredibly intelligent, exceling at problem solving and tool usage. Because of her intelligence, Roxy participates in a training program with her keepers where she can learn new behaviors and build strong relationships with them. She is often seen in her habitat flying around, carrying sticks or rocks, and perching on the top of the large tree.
Throughout time ravens have been the subject of poetry and folklore. Although they are known as scavengers, ravens are skilled hunters that sometimes make a collective effort to take down large game.
Polar Bears: Ursus maritimus
The hair of a polar bear is actually transparent and hollow – the white you see is from the light being refracted through the fur. Scientists believe that polar bear’s black skin allowed them to soak up as much sunlight as possible in the cold, harsh Arctic climates where they live. Polar bears are the largest land carnivores, and the largest member of the bear family.
About the Memphis Zoo polar bears
Meet “Haley” and “Koda,” our two polar bears. Haley was named after Haley’s comet. Koda was born on November 25, 2004 at the Denver Zoo. Koda has a rounder face and is larger, usually weighing around 1,100 pounds. Koda is very playful and can be seen playing with toys in his habitat. Haley has more defined features and is smaller usually weighing around 600 pounds. Haley is very smart and loves to "hunt"! Her favorite toys are large blue barrels she can pounce on, or small white buckets that she can carry around. The Memphis Zoo has had polar bears in our collection since the 1930s.
The Memphis Zoo is a proud partner of Polar Bears International.
There's a big weight difference between males and females – Male bears can weigh 770-1430 lbs. or up! Females generally weigh between 385-660 lbs.
The scientific name for polar bears is ursus maritimus, meaning sea bear. It’s quite the fitting name, since they can swim up to 300 miles between ice floes.
Unlike other bear species, not all polar bears hibernate. Only pregnant females take a long winter nap. In fact, pregnant females can survive up to eight months without feeding.
Polar bear paws can measure up to one foot across. These large paws help polar bears gain traction when trekking across snow and ice.
Bald Eagle: Hallaeetus leucocephalus
Don’t expect to see any featherless eagles here. The term “bald” actually means “marked with white” in Old English. The adult plumage usually develops about 5 years of age, when they reach sexual maturity. It’s at this same time that they mate for life. Together, an eagle pair will build an enormous nest. These nests can be up to 8 feet across, 13 feet tall and weigh 1 ton. The use the same nest for years, usually adding to it over time.
About the Memphis Zoo bald eagles
Memphis Zoo is home to 3 bald eagles, 2 females named Sue and Nash, and one male, Freedom. Our bald eagles were injured in the wild and were unsuccessful at completing their rehabilitation to be re-released into their native habitat. All birds of prey, including bald eagles are protected by the Migratory Bird Act and are on loan to us from the government.
Bald eagles see in color. In fact, they have eyesight that’s four to seven times better than that of a human.
The bald eagle was adopted as the national bird of the United States in 1782. At that time, there was an estimated 25,000-75,000 specimens. In 1963, there were less than 500 pairs left in the wild. According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, there are more than 9,000 estimated pairs in the wild today.
Females are larger than males. On average the wingspan of a bald eagle is between six and a half and seven and a half feet.
The scientific name for bald eagles, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, means “white-headed sea-eagle.”
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