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SEA CREATURE PORTRAITS AND STORIES
BY EXPLORER ELEMENTARY CHARTER SCHOOL ROOM 8 THIRD-GRADERS SPRING 2015
Sea Creature Portraits and Stories
by Misa Adams and Christine Kuhl's 3rd Grade Class
Explorer Elementary Charter School, 2014-2015
S.O.S. SAVE OCEAN SPECIES
As San Diegans, the Pacific Ocean is our backyard! The ocean is our largest habitat and we have the responsibility to take care of it. This project was born from this belief.
The sea animal portraits and stories in this book were written with the hope that its readers will be inspired to appreciate the beauty of our ocean and the diversity of life it provides.
The Third Grade Class would like to thank...
Sarah Sickler, Danny Beckwith and Mr. Chris of Scripps Birch Aquarium for providing a great kick off to our project with the shark survivor project, for the list of endangered ocean animals and for the great species status poster!
Alexandra Warnake of Cabrillo National Monument for hands on and feet wet experience to learn about the intertidal and what it takes to become an ocean ecologist who can rap.
Sandra Lebron of San Diego Coast Keeper for giving us the experience of what it's like for a dolphin to be trapped by marine debris and for collaborating with us on the beach clean-up.
Susan Hewitt of the Watercolor Society and Karen Anderson for allowing us to play while learning watercolor techniques.
Tasi Paulson for being our awesome art teacher and helping us with our Sea Animal Potraits.
Colleen Veltz and Itziar Parramon
for always being so generous with your time, resources and talents.
Dan Major for teaching us about sustainable fishing and answering our many many questions about fish.
Hilary Morefield, Mia Higgins, and Elisa Thomson for helping us wih our PSA Posters.
Justine Gatmaytan and Kenia Davalos for saving Ms. Kuhl and Ms. Adams to create our first ever audio e-book. We absolutely could not have done this with out you two!!!
Claudia Cervantes for your willingness, patience and calm presence in our classroom! We were so lucky to have you.
Margaret Noble and Jaxun Blinn for providing high quality sound recording.
Julie Hutchins- for being an amazing science teacher and showing us how we can solve the problems of the ocean through the lens of an engineer.
Project inspired by: Jenna Gampel's Slithering Snake Stories written by her 2nd grade class of 2012-2013.
The Coho Salmon by Heather Major
The Pacific Bluefin Tuna by Mia Hernandez
The Giant Sea Bass by Ethan Glover
The Beautiful Rainbow Trout by Ariane Shively-Wheaton
The Sheepshead Fish by Alexa Price
The Spiny Dogfish by Max Allen
The Frilled Shark by Maritza Aguayo
The Leopard Shark by Jackson Ohle-Kot
The Prickly Shark by CJ Saucedo
The Great White Shark by David Maya
The Pacific Angel Shark by Owen Valenzuela
The Basking Shark by Joshua GillinghamTABLE OF CONTENTS
The Baby Grey Whale by Eden Grace Brackbill
The Humpback Whale by Emma Schooner
The Killer Whale by Blake Lorenzo
The Sperm Whale by Henry Lancaster
The Pacific Right Whale by Ty Veltz
The Blue Whale by Zach Popov
The Loggerhead Turtle by Marc Oriol
The Olive Ridley Turtle by Amoret Snodgrass
The Green Sea Turtle by Nilaja Nettles
The Leatherback Sea Turtle by Coral Ortiz
SEA OTTER & SEA LION
The Southern Sea Otter by Sebasiten Montgrain
The Stellar Sea Lion by Ava Mulno
The Coho Salmon
by: Heather Major
It is early morning in the beginning of summer in one of the many rivers leading to Monterey Bay. At the top, there is water splashing against the rocks and leaves falling from trees with a gust of wind that is nice and cool. At the bottom, little plants sway with the water’s current.
After spending the first part of his life in the lake where he was born, the Coho salmon now wants to go to the Pacific Ocean. He is about eight pounds, but someday he may get as heavy as 35 pounds. He is eating his food which are insects. Immediately, he finishes his food and starts on his adventure. He swims through a bunch of plants and sees some freshwater fish along the way.
The Coho Salmon is hungry from his adventure down the river so he goes to hunt for food. He sees insects on the surface and then he sneaks up and “SNAP!” The Coho Salmon catches his food and returns on his journey to the ocean. His kidney function and the patterns on his body start changing so that he can adapt to the ocean and to camouflage so he has a better chance to survive in the ocean. He used to have a pattern of vertical bars and spots, but once he reaches the ocean, he will have a dark metallic blue or greenish back with silver sides and a light belly.
After traveling for miles and miles down the river, he finally reaches the Pacific Ocean. He will go through some changes which include his diet, his looks, his gills, and his kidney function. He will no longer eat insects, but he will eat small fish.
As he swims around, getting used to the salt water environment, suddenly, a net swoops by and all the debris from the bottom of the ocean is making the water foggy. The net is scraping all the plants and animals off the seafloor. It’s way too foggy for the Coho Salmon to see. The net catches the Coho Salmon and he gets stuck. The holes are too small to swim through. The Coho Salmon is stuck in the net.
He looks around and sees an opening at the top of the net. He is swimming as fast as he can. The net starts to come up out of the water, but the Coho Salmon makes it out of the fishing net just in time and survives. But all the plants and animals that are accidentally caught are dragged up onto the boat and are thrown back in the water either dead or dying. But at least the Coho Salmon survives.
When he becomes three years old, he will go back to his stream where he used to live and there he will spawn and die. To prepare for this migration, his body will change again. He will no longer be metallic blue, but will now develop a reddish maroon color on his sides. Also, his mouth will become more hooked, and he will have big teeth.
He hears the chugging of the motors on the boats out in the ocean. Fish are splashing around in the water and the sound of sea birds squawk nearby. It is now evening and the Coho Salmon is thinking of his old home and wondering what is going on. He sees a place to rest and goes to sleep.
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The Pacific Bluefin Tuna
by: Mia Hernandez
It is a late summer afternoon in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Out in the distance, the splashing of dolphins jumping out of the water can be heard. Seagulls are squawking overhead, hunting for any tasty fish swimming at the water’s surface. Underneath the surface is a home to sea turtles, sharks, and thousands of fish of different species, including the Pacific Bluefin Tuna.
Among thousands of Pacific Bluefin Tuna eggs, one is about to hatch. Soon, it hatches and a baby bluefin tuna is swimming on its own. She is on her way to have an adventure. But first, she must eat. She can eat many different things, including krill, red crabs, and other types of fish. As a baby, she must be aware of other bigger fish including sharks that like to eat tuna.
It is now two years later. She manages to stay alive even without living with her parents. She is blue gray and a little bit of yellow. She is quite big, but will soon grow to be about 1,200 pounds.
The bluefin tuna searches for krill or pelagic red crabs in the sunlight zone. She looks down and spots a crab. It’s walking on the ocean floor. She dives down and ends up getting trapped in a trawling net. The fishermen are trying to catch a school of bluefin tuna. The trawling net is sixty meters long, and it’s being dragged along the ocean floor, destroying different plants along its path. She notices that there are turtles in the trawling net that aren’t supposed to be there. The tuna tries to escape from the net by using her pectoral fins to swim faster than the net. She is able to escape from the opening just in time. If she hadn’t had escaped, she would have been made into sushi!
The Pacific Bluefin Tuna is free, but realizes that she lost the crab, so she decides to search for some krill. She swims up and looks for crab or krill, whichever she finds first. She joins the rest of her school and keeps swimming. In a year, she will be old enough to lay up to 30 million eggs.
For now, she will swim with her group of other Pacific Bluefin Tuna. It is evening, four years later since she was a baby. The moon is bright and shines on the water. The bluefin tuna can see coral, other plants, her friends swimming close by, a pufferfish, and even a catfish. She is happy and grateful that she didn’t get caught in the trawling net and that she is free to be in the wild Pacific Ocean.
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The Giant Sea Bass
by: Ethan Glover
It is early morning. The sun is rising over the Pacific Ocean in Southern California. Animals of the kelp forest are awake. The sea horses’ tails are curled around the kelp so they don’t get swept away by the current.
The giant sea bass is one of the animals of the kelp forest . Her fins help her swim and balance easily through the long grass even though she is seven feet long and a bulky 300 pounds. Her body has bronze and black spots that do not blend in with the green kelp. She is hungry for a tiger shark pup to eat. She leaves the kelp forest and glides towards the rocks near the intertidal. She is scanning for her next meal.
Suddenly, she sees black and brown stripes. It’s a baby tiger shark. She starts approaching it. A mother tiger shark who is looking for a place to lay her eggs, notices the giant sea bass and chases it away. The sea bass is left hungry. But soon, she notices that there are some baby squid swimming three feet away. She moves in closer and opens her mouth and sucks in the squid. She feels satisfied and decides to go back to the kelp forest to lay what is close to 60 million eggs!
The giant sea bass swims through the ocean without many friends of her same kind. Many fishermen have taken too many sea bass from the sea and have left little behind. All of a sudden, her tail is caught on a fishing line hook. The giant sea bass fishermen are back again! She pulls the line with all her strength. She tries to snap the line, but it is too strong. She twists and turns, but it still won’t budge.
Her body is lifted out of the water. She squirms around the line to try to get back into the ocean. The fishermen keep on pulling. As she struggles, her body hits the boat and luckily, she falls off the line. She swims away as fast as she can!
It is now midday. The sun shines fiercely on the Pacific Ocean. Seagulls are hovering over the water for new prey. The giant sea bass returns back to the safety of the green kelp forest and finds a place to lay her eggs. Hopefully, her eggs will survive and help grow the population of the giant sea bass.
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The Beautiful Rainbow Trout
by: Ariane Shively-Wheaton
It is a hot early morning in summer in the Pacific Coast of California. Rainbow trout eggs lay in a nest of rocky gravel by many cliffs. You can hear the sound of a foghorn, along with the song of seabirds, seals and waves crashing on the cliffs. You can see lighthouse lights in the distance, also cliffs, gravel, coral, algae, sea creatures, sea birds and barnacles against the rocks.
All of the trout eggs are hatched, all but one. Finally, a week later, that one last egg hatches! She is now a fry with her bright red egg still attached to her. She stays in her nest for two to three weeks and feeds on her egg shell. After the two to three weeks resting in gravel, she is still a fry but now she goes to hunt for her own food. She hunts for crustaceans like crabs and lobsters and mollusks which are also known as sea snails. Though the fry starts out beige, at this age, she starts to turn reddish-pink.
Suddenly, she spots a mollusk and a crab. She swims like the speed of a cheetah and eats the crab and the mollusk. She is full and tired so she goes to some soft sand in shallow water and has a nice long rest.
An hour later, she wakes up, and is hungry again. She is also now an adult Rainbow Trout. She has orange, blended in with yellow, green blended in with blue, and blue blended with purple and a silvery blue belly. She has blackish-brown speckles and big brownish-gray globs. She has redish-pink gills surrounded by yellow as bright as the sun, and all her fins are mustard yellow with blackish-brown speckles.
She spots some smaller fish in the far distance. She zooms towards the fish and snaps the fish out of mid-water. But she can’t chew her fish. She feels herself rising but not swimming! She is out of the water and she is getting caught by a fisherman.
There is a flag on a flagpole in the fishing boat. A big gust of wind drops in and blows the flag away. The fisherman drops his fishing line and the Rainbow trout is free! Now she finds a school of anchovies and goes to eat them. She eats twelve anchovies, and she is full.
It is now evening. The sky is filled with streaks of pink and purple. The water is cooler as well as the air. The trout survives as she sleeps soundly in rocky gravel.
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The Sheepshead Fish
by: Alexa Price
It is one gorgeous morning in the deep Pacific Ocean. Underneath, it is as silent as a ghost town, but above it’s as noisy as twenty-five sea birds squawking all at once. There are striped black and white angelfish swimming gracefully near the white coral. A coral shark swims above the eggs of a sheepshead. The sea grass on the sandy ocean floor sways with the ocean's current.
One of the little round, clear sheepshead eggs in the cracks between two rocks is about to hatch. “Crash, scrash, scratch” The egg opens and “pop” the little sheepshead is out and starts her journey.
The little sheepshead looks reddish orange in the first couple of years. She is searching for some food to eat. She finds some shrimp and sneaks up and then charges towards it, but the shrimp sees her and pops back into his hole. So the little sheepshead is still hungry. But then right at that moment, she sees an octopus with her kin. The sheepshead knows that she can’t get the adult so she charges for the kin and gets it. She chomps up the baby octopus with her powerful jaws and human-like teeth. The adult octopus sees her and starts chasing her across the ocean, but the Sheepshead finds two rocks with a little hiding spot and hides so she can get away.
When the little sheepshead swims, it grows. Now, eight years have passed. She’s a female adult and she has changed colors to a dull pink with white undersides. She swims at the bottom of the ocean, but then she hears something. She tries to swim up, but she can’t. She’s stuck! She looks down and all she sees is a net from a commercial fishing boat. The net is leaving a mark on the seafloor and damaging the coral.
As she tries to get out of the net, it starts going up and almost past the water’s surface. She panics! Then, when she’s getting lifted out of the water, she finds a hole in the net. She swims out and all the other fish swim out with her, and she’s safe. She is now ready to lay her eggs. She finds a nice, soft, and safe place. She lays 36,000 to 296,000 eggs and hopes for all of them to hatch.
Now that she has laid her eggs, she is ready to turn male. (All Sheepsheads are born female and they turn male two-thirds of their way through their twenty -year life span.) The newly-turned male now has a black tail and head and a reddish-orange middle. He also has a red stripe down his back. Now that he’s male, he hopes that even though he’s leaving his kids, he will live long enough to see his them again. Then, he starts his way back through the soundless Pacific Ocean.
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The Spiny Dogfish
by: Max Allen
In the ocean about mid morning, it’s summer. The waves are gentle, although, still giving off a small ripple here and there. The sun is bright. It is reflecting off the water like a mirror. There are lots of tiny and big fish around. You can even hear their little fins going “splish, splash, splish, splash.”
An adult spiny dogfish’s scaly rough skin is shimmering from the light rays that have woven themselves down into the water. A member of the shark family, he is in one of his many habitats 3,000 feet below the surface in the Black Sea. He is also hungry, alert, and ready to eat. He starts to swim up to the sunlight zone where one of his favorite meals live: bony fish. He suddenly spots a school of them. He decides to go for it. As he starts to charge, out of nowhere, a goose fish appears! The spiny dogfish arches his back ready to pierce the goosefish if needed with his two dorsal fin spines. Glands underneath his spine can shoot a mild venom if necessary. The goose fish does not want to stick around to find out how this feels, so it swiftly goes away.
Then the triumphant spiny dogfish continues up to the sunlight zone.
All of a sudden, MORE TROUBLE! Another spiny dogfish appears. This one is a female. How can he tell? She is bigger than him! This is not good. Females, if not a mate, can attack the male dogfish and rarely, kill it. However, this sometimes happens. He swims around, zigzagging, trying to throw her off. But no luck. Then suddenly, he realizes he is in the sunlight zone. There are more caves here. He finds a small cave and squeezes himself inside. He has just enough room to keep swiming in place. As the female spiny dogfish passes by, she cannot find him, so she goes away. He quietly comes out of his hiding place and continues to chase the bony fish.
Suddenly, he realizes there are lots of tiny pieces of fish in front of him! But what he does not know is that this is a commercial fishing line; long lines of fish dangling on metal hooks. Any sea animal that tries to eat the bait will get eaten eventually by humans or in the Spiny dogfish’s case, finned. Finning is where the fishermen cut the dorsal fins and other fins off the shark and then throw the finless body off into the water and leave the shark to die. The fish, having already eaten, are not tempted by the bait, but the spiny dogfish reaches out to take a piece of meat…
Then he sees the live fresh fish he had been chasing. His super special electro senses pick up the electric field of the live fish. Yum! he thinks. He smells the fish on the hook and decides he would rather have fresh fish and darts back to chase it. After a while though, he is tired, too tired to chase it.. He doesn’t want to chase the fish anymore so he decides to swim in the other direction to go back home. Then, with his keen eyesight, he notices a sleeping octopus. He silently swims up and strikes. He has made his kill and he finishes his meal.
The Spiny Dogfish, now full and happy, swims through the ocean and back down to his home, 3,000 feet under the Black Sea. Once again, he hears the waves lapping against the shore and the fish looking for food, though this time, they are nighttime fish. He wishes he could stop and lay on a rock like the starfish or crab, but he knows he must keep swimming so as to not drown. Tomorrow, the spiny dogfish hopes to be as successful as he was with his catch today.
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The Frilled Shark
by: Maritza Aguayo
It is a bright summer morning. The waters of the Pacific Ocean glisten like silver sequins as the sun shines down on it. In the distance, the sea gulls squawk as they fly overhead. The waves crash into the seaweed with a loud “Whoosh!”
In the deep dark ocean, close to 3,000 feet below the surface, the frilled shark swims. He is about three and a half feet long and is smaller than the female Frilled Shark. The eyes on the Frilled Shark’s lizard-like head look at his surroundings. His paddle-shaped fins glide through the deep dark parts in the ocean. The Frilled Shark is hungry. He is looking for squid, bony fishes, and smaller sharks to eat.
The Frilled Shark sees a few squids floating in front of him. He opens his large mouth widely and shows his needle sharp teeth that point inward. The six gills on each side of the neck open up. He catches the squid. It will take him a long time to digest his food since his metabolism works slowly in the deep ocean.
The Frilled Shark swims up 2,000 feet. He sees a long line with bait and goes to eat the meat when he accidentally gets caught on one of the hooks. He thrashes his long eel-like body back and forth to try to loosen himself off the hook. But the hook only goes deeper into his mouth.
The shark struggles and pulls away. The hook releases and finally the shark is set free. He gets away and leaves. He swims back down to the deep, cold ocean. If he had been caught, he may have been used as fish meat or food to be sold in markets.
The night time sky turns the ocean black. The stars shine and twinkle over the Pacific Ocean. The frilled shark is safe for now.
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The Leopard Shark
by: Jackson Ohle-Kot
It is dusk on a summer day in a little town called La Jolla, off the coast in the Pacific Ocean. The sky is painted with streaks of pink and purple. A large wave hits the shore. In the distance, a boat starts up its engine to return back to shore for the day. It was a busy day at the beach and now it is quiet. But, under the water is a different story.
In the shallow waters, a Leopard shark is searching for a meal on the seafloor. While hovering through the water, her camouflaged skin of brown and tan helps her not get spotted by hunters or by other larger sharks. The Leopard shark is hungry because it is ten-months pregnant with two dozen pups who are growing inside her in a warm and cozy egg sack.
After she finds her food, she is hoping to find a nice place to rest and have her pups.
With her keen eyesight, and she sneaks up on a sea bass. Quickly, the Leopard Shark bites the bass’s tail. The fish is unable to move. The Leopard Shark finishes it off. She quickly swims away. She can because she is made of cartilage and uses snake-like movement patterns.
A few minutes later, the Leopard Shark becomes tired. Although she wants to rest, she continues swimming because if not, she will drown. She soon sees a large back net surrounding her and other sea animals on all sides. She notices this net is crushing sea plants on the ocean floors. Clouds of sand and dust from the net scraping the bottom of the ocean are blinding her.
She shoots forward through the water, but the net is still moving at the same speed. It seems like she will not be able to escape. Luckily, the net is caught on a sharp rock. The boat that is carrying the trawling net is forced to stop or the net will snap.She and the fish around her escape the net and swim to safety.
It is now dawn. The new sun is lighting the sky from the darkness. The Leopard Shark is tired and finds a dark sea cave to rest in. She soon gives birth to twenty-four seven inch pups. The mom finds some small crabs for her pups to eat.
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The Prickly Shark
by: CJ Saucedo
It is a summer evening in the waters off Costa Rica. The waves splash against the rocks and if you look closely, you can see a prickly shark swimming under the waves. It is a pitch black night with the moonlight shining on the waters of the Pacific Ocean.
The prickly shark is swimming in the deep black sea. He is a baby prickly shark so he is still quite small, only about a foot long. Adult sharks grow to be nine feet long. He is grey with a small white mark on his chest. His whole body, except for his narrow snout, is covered in sharp spikes called denticles. His teeth are jagged and have one point on each side. When he is older, he will have three sharp points on the sides of each tooth. He hopes to mate when he is older.
He is looking for food and these are some of the foods he eats-squid, octopus, and other shark and fish. He is so happy because he sees a baby squid swimming under him. His mouth is like a vacuum and he sucks it right up. Now he is finished and swims to the shallow water to relax.
A few years later, the prickly shark is now an adult and is nine feet long. He sees an object move towards him. From where he is, it looks like a huge whale scraping the bottom of the sea. He soon realizes that it is a large trawling net being carried by a fishing boat. It is coming closer to the prickly shark. Many sea creatures are already caught in the net. All the sand and plants are being scraped up from the ocean floor, creating huge billows of dust. He knows he needs to swim far away as possible from the trawling net.
Instead of moving forward, he decides to swim off to the right, out of the direction of the net. He barely misses the net and is relieved that he is not one of the animals that gets swept up. Next, the prickly shark finds a female adult to mate with. She is seven feet long. They mate and then go in different directions.
The sun is setting over the warm and calm coastal waters of Costa Rica. Bands of red, purple, blue and green streak the sunset sky. The water is now high tide. The prickly shark swims in the deep waters heading North to the cooler waters of Southern California in search of his next meal and adventure.
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The Great White Shark
by: David Maya
The Great White Shark is swimming smoothly, surrounded by water of the Pacific Ocean. Below him, with his sharp eyesight, he can see clown fish darting through the coral reef. He is swimming through the twilight. The water is cold. The night is coming. From far away, he can hear the whales’ curious song.
The male Great White Shark with its white belly hunts for food. He likes to eat dolphins, green sea turtles, seal, sea otters, rays, and other larger prey. It sees a seal, swimming fast right under the surface of the water. The Great White Shark quietly sneaks under the seal, but the seal can’t see him because the shark’s dark grey color of his back blends in with the darker waters below it. The seal does not know that the shark is there and continues to swim playfully. Out of nowhere, the Great White Shark jumps ten feet high and grabs the seal in mid-air. The shark has 300 razor-sharp teeth and will not let the seal go. The poor seal becomes the shark’s free lunch.
As the shark swims away after finishing his meal, he soon notices a shadow of a fishing boat in the water. He is curious and approaches the boat cautiously. He sticks his head out of the water and sees six fishermen on a medium sized boat. It is dragging a big net behind it. They are out there trawling for the bluefin tuna. All of a sudden, he finds himself getting caught in the net. He becomes a bycatch. He struggles to get out and tries to bite his way out of the net.
After many bites with his razor sharp teeth, he tears the net apart! It is a miracle that he is able to free himself. Usually, Great White Sharks aren’t so lucky. Sometimes they drown from being trapped in the net because they are not able to swim anymore and sometimes they are killed for their meat, fins, and teeth. He is lucky to be alive.
More trouble comes for the Great White Shark! An Orca whale swims by the shark and sees him. The Orca targets him and attacks by darting at the shark. The Orca opens his mouth wide and bites the shark on his right dorsal fin. The Great White Shark dives down 1,600 feet. The Orca follows, then realizes the pressure is too strong and swims back up to the surface. Luckily, The Great White Shark survived the Orca attack and happily swam away.
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The Pacific Angel Shark
by: Owen Valenzuela
It is close to midnight in the Pacific Ocean near Southern California. It is a cool spring night. It is low tide. The new moon is shining on the waves. A humpback whale is singing its song.
A Pacific Angel Shark, an ambusher, is looking for a hiding spot on the floor of a kelp forest. He is grey and yellow and blends in with the sand and rocks to help him catch his prey. His body is made of cartilage to help it move smoothly. He is laying flat buried in the sand, waiting patiently for either a croaker, a flatfish, damselfish, mackerels, kelp bass or sardines. He is hungry.
The Pacific Angel Shark moves side to side staying buried in the sand. The eyes that are placed on the side of his head, like a hammerhead shark, move up and down, forwards and backwards scanning the ocean floor for food. Suddenly, he spots a kelp bass. The kelp bass doesn’t notice the angel shark because he is hidden in the sand. When the kelp bass swims right in front of the Pacific Angel Shark, he grabs the prey with its powerful jaws and needle sharp teeth. He swallows the kelp bass whole. Still, he is not satisfied.
A few moments later, he leaves the kelp forest to get some sardines that are swimming in the open water. Out in the distance, he notices a large net chasing other sea animals and scratching the ocean floor. The net captures many other fish and other angel sharks. They can’t escape. A cloud of dust is created because the net is damaging the ocean floor. The net is approaching the Pacific Angel Shark. He tries to escape the trawling net.
Quickly, the Pacific Angel Shark makes a sharp turn towards the kelp forest. He dives down to the ocean floor again and buries himself in the sand. Meanwhile, the massive net is reeled in to avoid the kelp forest. He is safe.
Some years have passed. The Pacific Angel Shark is now twenty-four years old. It is night time and he is swimming through the kelp forest of the Pacific Ocean. He see the arms and tentacles of an octopus and sea otters grabbing the sea urchins. He is looking for a mate to let the circle of life go on.
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The Basking Shark
by: Joshua Gillingham
It is 8:43 am, the thirteenth year of summer. A mother basking shark swims along the coast of the Pacific Ocean. All that can be heard are the waves splashing above. The basking shark swims to the top of the ocean and starts to filter plankton. She is a huge filter feeding shark that uses huge gills and dark bristle-like rakers to filter the food from the water. With its enlarged mouth, she can filter through 1,500 gallons of water per hour. Her snout is conical and her gill slits extend around the top and the bottom of her head. She is greyish- brownish with mottled skin.
It is a month later. The shark is full and swims off into the middle of the ocean. She is on her migration journey and will be on her way to traveling south when it’s winter. She has already mated and is now carrying her eggs inside her body. Her shark pups will not be ready to hatch for another three and a half years. When ready, they will hatch inside the mother. The pups will be born live. Immediately after birth, they will swim away from their mom and hunt by themselves.
It has now been a few days since she has left her shark pups. She swims down a little farther down into the water and into the middle zone. Next, she senses a killer whale approaching her. The killer whale gets very close and snatches at her, but just in time, the basking shark swims away out in the dark deep ocean.
The basking shark is now along the coast of South America, swimming very far out in the water. Suddenly, she feels a sharp stab in her neck. She is a slow swimmer and can only swim three miles per hour so the hunter can catch her without much trouble. She uses her whole body to swim through the water, unlike other sharks who use their tails to swim. She turns around and slaps the boat with her tail. The hunters lose their balance and fall into the water. Luckily, the basking shark is able to swim away. If she had been caught, she would have been killed for the oil in her liver and also for her meat.
It is now night time. She slowly moves along the shallow waters of the Pacific Ocean. Soon, she will be ready to feed again and continue on her journey. She has already swum a long way.
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The Baby Gray Whale
by: Eden Grace Brackbill
One early morning along the east coast of Russia, waves crash on the rocks while seagulls caw and schools of fish swim around. Meanwhile, a male and female gray whale are mating. The sun is blazing hot. They see a leopard shark eat a sardine. The water is 42 degrees, and the gray whales move on.
A year later, the mother whale has a baby calf. It’s a girl and she is fifteen feet long and weighs 1-1.5 tons. She stays with mother for a year and drinks sixty pounds of milk a day. After a year with Mom, the female calf goes on her own out to the Sea of Okhotsk.
She is swimming along looking for some plankton to eat. Then, she sees a killer whale coming. She starts swimming as fast as she can to get away from her enemy. She darts this way and that way. Finally, she loses him. She opens her mouth and takes in both water and plankton. The water goes through her baleen teeth, and she swallows the plankton.
After eating ten mouthfuls of plankton, the gray whale starts to swim away, when suddenly she hears a loud noise. Its a dredging rig and it’s destroying her habitat. The rig is digging up dirt to be used on land, and as a result, it’s making it hard for the gray whale to navigate. The gray whale starts to swim away again.
Finally, she can see. Then the gray whale swiftly swims away to the Bering Sea. She has been alive for eight years now and is thirty-nine feet long. The gray whale is ready to mate. She chooses a fast and strong looking one to mate with. After they mate, the male leaves. The gray whale is pregnant for one year
It is one year later along the eastern coast of Russia. The waves crash against the rocks while the cold wind blows. The Gray whale just had a baby calf. It’s a boy and he is sixteen feet long and weighs 1-1.5 tons. After a year, he will go on to live on his own and the new mom will have another baby every other year.
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The Humpback Whale
by: Emma Schooner
It is March in California near the bay and you can hear the splashing of the waves. It is 12:00 in the day.Cotton ball clouds float across the baby blue sky . There are islands out in the distance. But when in the water, it’s a whole new world underneath with its colorful coral reefs. The fish are hiding in the seaweed and there’s life everywhere. Rocks litter the seafloor. It is worth exploring.
In the Pacific Ocean, there is a female humpback whale. She has given birth to one baby, tail first to prevent drowning. The mother has given birth to one baby, because twins are very rare. The baby is grey and blue and has a white belly with twelve throat grooves.The baby is called a calf. He will live for 50-80 years and, at full length, will be 50 feet long.
In a few months, the mother will let the calf eat solid foods like krill and fish no bigger than an apple , but for now he will drink the mother’s milk. It is now night, and the calf is tired. The mother holds him up on her back while she sleeps, drifting with the current. Tomorrow they will begin their search of finding a pod of humpback whales and traveling all over the world, visiting many different oceans.
Early in the morning, the calf and his mother begin their journey. He is full of energy and can’t focus on swimming. Suddenly a fishing net is drifting with the current and the calf doesn't pay attention and swims right into it. The baby humpback whale has gotten trapped in the fishing net! He struggles but cannot escape. The mother tries to help, but it is no use. Then a scuba diver swims around, taking pictures of the coral reef. The scuba diver sees the calf and cuts her loose. Humpback whales can get injured because of fishing nets. The baby thanks the scuba diver by giving him a friendly nudge.
After a few months of swimming around and gulping up his mother's milk, the calf is finally ready to learn how to catch his first meal. The mother shows the baby that humpback whales swim with their mouths open to catch fish and krill just the right size. The baby is satisfied with his meal and keeps swimming on their journey. The baby and mother can hold their breath for thirty minutes until they have to come up for air. The mother and baby are close to finding a pod of whales when they stop to find some food. The baby is now six months old and is one quarter to a third the length of the mother. He is now able to look for food on his own. The baby whale opens his mouth and catches ten small fish and around hundred krill. Humpbacks have very strong swimming muscles and excellent hearing. This makes it easy to catch food.
Humpback whales have no actual teeth, instead they have baleen plates. The mother catches fifteen small fish and around 150 krill. Soon they finish their meal and start swimming again. They have made good progress when they pass a city along the coast. In the distance, the baby can see some office buildings. Hee cannot hear any whale calls and can only hear the noise from the city. This confuses the baby and he heads for the rocky shore where he can clearly see the boats and a light house. The mother has experienced this before. The baby whale is close to being beached. Finding other humpback whales are the least of their concerns right now. The mother helps by nudging the calf in the right direction. The calf is now safe and out in deeper water. Before long, the mother hears a pod of whales up ahead. It sounds like a deep moan. The mother tells the calf and they start to catch up. The humpback whale completes the longest annual migration of any other mammal.
A few days later, the child and mother have caught up with the pod and now are heading to Antarctica. There are a few other young whales in the pod.
A few weeks later, they have finally made it to Antarctica. The calf can hear splashing from the other whales and can hear the ice slowly cracking. Hee also hears lots of other whales coming up for air. They also see glaciers and lots of ice. Earlier in the day, it was peaceful. They arrived around 3:00 in the morning. Together, they find millions of krill and a few small fish. Soon, they will travel back to the breeding grounds to give birth to one child, maybe a few out of all of them will have twins. Then the cycle will start all over again.
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The Killer Whale
by: Blake Lorenzo
It is 12:00 p.m. on February 19, 2015 in the icy Antarctic Ocean.It is cloudy and cold. The water is covered in patches of sheets of ice. The waters are calm.
Deep down in the sea an adult male orca, two ambulances long, is swimming. His dorsal fin that points straight up sticks out of the surface of the ocean six feet high. He has a white spot inside in his eyes. His body is covered in black. The Orca killer whale is starving.
He’s looking for a delicious penguin. Another orca joins him. They see a big ice block with penguins gathered together. One orca turns the ice block sideways with a strong push with his body and breaks some of the ice block in pieces. Several penguins fall into the ocean and the orcas eat them them up. CHOMP! Although they just ate, they are still hungry. The whales go their separate ways.
The Orca is swimming calmly and is still on the prowl for food. He sees a school of fish. All of a sudden, a spear shoots through the water a few feet in front of him, then another. It’s a large fishing boat that is trying to protect the school of fish so they can catch them.
Suddenly, the fish start speeding by the orca. The orca is confused and realizes that he needs to swim away so he is no longer in shooting range. He swims 30 miles per hour to a safe spot in a different direction. He is now looking forward to mating with a female orca also called a cow.
It is now dusk and getting dark. The water is still calm in the icy waters of the Antarctic Ocean. The Orca whale shoots himself out of the water with almost his entire body in the air. He dives back into the ocean and continues the search for his mate.
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The Sperm Whale
by: Henry Lancaster
It’s a dark place 9,000 feet down in the ocean. You can’t see anything because it’s as dark as night time without a light. Most of the animals are adapted to live there. Some animals have echolocation, when you can sense the animal that you’re hunting. A Sperm Whale is swimming at these depths away from the Equator. He has just mated.
The Sperm Whale is using echolocation to find his meal. His heartbeat is slower so it doesn’t waste oxygen. The Sperm Whale is picking up something with this extra sense. He swims and finds a Giant Squid! He sneaks up on it and attacks! He has ripped off one of the tentacles of the Giant Squid but the giant squid fights back. The Giant Squid is scratching the Sperm Whale. He has it in his mouth and gobbles the Giant Squid up.
The Sperm Whale is satisfied with his meal, and he comes up for a breath of air. He take a huge breath of air and starts swimming in the sunlight zone. When a whaling ship comes, the Sperm Whale swims at its top speed of 23 miles an hour, but the boat is faster. Then, he dives down to keep away from the danger. He comes back up ten minutes later.
Worried that the boat will come back, he swims in the other direction. The Sperm Whale is hungry from swimming at top speed. He swims around then finds some octopus and he gobbles it up. He swims around a little bit more and finds a skate. He eats that too.
Later that day, he finds a nice place to sleep near the surface of the water. When he starts falling asleep, he gets hungry and finds some fish, eats them and goes to sleep with his brain half awake. Soon he’ll awake in the South Atlantic/Indian Ocean. With pink and purple in the sky with gulls squawking in the middle of the ocean, he starts his journey towards Greenland.
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The Pacific Right Whale
by: Ty Veltz
It is sunset off the coast of California. The sky is colorful with shades of orange and yellow. It is beautiful. Four whales breach and crash into the shallowwaters of the Pacific Ocean with a splash. A quiet whale song can be heard at the beach.
One of the adult Pacific Right Whales breaches again. His two blowholes make a heart shaped mist. His grey and black skin with horny growths called callosities on his face shine in the sun while he’s in the open air. He is a nine year old adult who is forty-five feet long. He will hopefully live a long life of about 50 years or more. He dives back down and shows his fluke happily. He and his family are getting ready to migrate to Alaska. As he travels north with his small pod, the large amount of blubber helps the Pacific Right Whales stay close to the surface of the water to capture their zooplankton.
The whale swims with his mouth open. His lower jaw is made out of platy hair like keratin . As his mouth stays open, he captures krill and rice-sized plankton. He drains the water out of his plates and keeps the food inside to eat. As he and his pod swim north, they play gently with each other.
Suddenly, a big round object is moving towards him and his pod, destroying the seafloor as it moves closer to them. As it gets closer, they notice that it looks like a net, and it is! The pod moves scaredly to the right to avoid the net. The net is too fast and catches them. They try to escape through the holes of the net. The net just scrapes them and some of them gets tangled in the net. Some of them find a trap door to escape from. Some of the tangled whales get out of the net, but others are still stuck. The whales who do not get untangled in time are pulled away by the trawling boat and do not survive.
The rest of the pod goes up to the surface of the water to get air and eat krill to gain energy. After they get their breath, the pod continues to migrate to Alaska. The water of the Pacific Ocean becomes colder the farther they swim letting them know that they have finally made it to Alaska.
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The Blue Whale
by: Zach Popov
It’s spring in the North Atlantic Ocean. There are fish, rocks, and a little bit of plastic floating on the water. All the waves are splashing on the shore. A 100 foot long female blue whale swims along and is ready to mate.
A year passes and the calf is born. It is 23 feet long and weighs 5,000 pounds. The calf is hungry so the mother feeds the calf her milk. The mother produces fifty gallons of milk a day. The calf drinks hungrily. Because of all the fat in her mother’s milk, the calf will grow ten pounds an hour. Later, the mother with the blueish grayish calf becomes hungry. She and her calf start searching for schools of krill. They spot a school a few feet away. The mom and calf have their mouths open. They are full of baleen. They swallow the entire school of krill whole.
A few years later, the calf is fully grown and ready to mate. She is no longer with her mother. She is now close to one hundred feet long. She swims in the coldest waters of the North Atlantic. The layer of blubber beneath her skin keeps her warm. As she swims around just eating krill, she sees a shark approaching. The shark darts at her, but the Blue Whale dodges it. The shark continues attacking.
Quickly, the Blue Whale uses her quickest speed to swim away from the shark. At the same time, a school of tuna passes by. The shark changes his choice of prey and moves towards the school of tuna. Now the Blue Whale is safe, but she’s hungry again. She swims around eating krill.
Suddenly, a sharp metal object comes from the surface of the water. It’s a harpoon to capture the Blue Whale and use her blubber. Many of her species die because of this. It misses the Blue Whale. She is scared and swims away from the danger as fast as she can swim. She escapes the harpoons!
It is sunset in the North Atlantic Ocean. The splashing of the waves can be heard above the mating calls. Jagged rocks are scattered along the shore and bits of plastic are littered here and there. It is almost the end of the day. The Blue Whale will continue to find a mate.
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The Loggerhead Sea Turtle
by: Marc Oriol
It is early morning in the greenish-blue waters of San Diego Bay. It is warm and filled with sea otters barking at the seagulls. The sun is in the middle of the sky; a perfect day to go fishing.
In the bay there is a Loggerhead turtle. He came here from a long journey. Loggerhead is looking for food which is a mackerel. He has a strong jaw to eat shellfish and spiny fish. Loggerhead has a slick brown body to be able to hide in rocks and to swim very powerfully in the water. His flippers help him paddle forward by moving like wings.
He is starving and finds a mackerel and is ready to strike. He chomps with his powerful jaws, but accidentally bites a chunk of a sandwich that is floating in the water. Loggerhead doesn’t like that snack. He would rather have clams or lobsters. He goes to the bottom of the bay to rest. A couple hours later, Loggerhead bathes in the sun.
While the Loggerhead turtle rests on the beach, a tourist comes up to him and pats him on his hard brown shell. He tries to move himself back to the water, but the tourist keeps patting him on his shell. He still tries to flop away, but it is no use. Loggerhead is no match for the speed of the tourist. The tourist drops a plastic bag that flies into the bay. Now, he is tempted to eat the plastic bag which appears to look like a jellyfish. Loggerhead strikes, but he chokes and realizes it’s a plastic bag. Luckily, part of the bag gets caught on a rock, and as he swims away, the bag gets pulled away from the turtle’s mouth. Loggerhead is saved, and swims away to a rock that is on the shore and away from tourists. While he is resting, a bird flies overhead.
Loggerhead is still starving and finally finds a mackerel. Loggerhead slowly creeps up and Chomp! The mackerel is now gone.
The bay is now at sunset. Everything is quiet except for the foghorn . Honk! In the distance, the seagulls squawk overhead. The boats and other seabirds glide over the bay’s blue water. Soon, the Loggerhead turtle will swim further down the Pacific Ocean in search for a mate.
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The Olive Ridley Turtle
by: Amoret Snodgrass
It is the middle of a November night off the coast of Hawaii. The waves crash against the shore. Soon, a rush of dark fog will come. The sand flows with the wind as it makes its instrumental creepy sound. Hawaii’s dark and tropical shore is home to the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle.
The Olive Ridley is an olive colored sea turtle with a heart-shaped shell. She is soon to be a mother. She swims to shore and lays her eggs at the tropical beach. She finds a perfect spot to lay her eggs. She makes a hole in the sand by paddling her flippers back and forth. She pushes quick and hard. Once she lays her eggs, she will leave her babies. In two months, the eggs will hatch. The baby turtles or hatchlings will use their special front teeth to gnaw on the shells and finally climb up out of the nest. The hatchlings are scared of crabs, raccoons, and sea birds. Crabs pinch, racoons snatch, and sea birds scoop. All hatchlings are born with the instinct to leave their nest and move fast to sea.
One hatchling makes it to the water. She waddles to the edge of her new home as the seawater current pulls her into the sea. Unfortunately, most of her sisters and brothers will not make it to the water.
The hatchling keeps swimming farther out into the ocean. She is also born with a natural instinct to swim with her front flippers and steer with her back flippers. She stops and floats on the top of the ocean. Every three to five minutes, she will need to come up for air.
It now has been one year since she has left her nest. She has grown older and bigger. She is hungry and wants some shrimp and takes a quick bite. Even after her meal, she keeps swimming through the ocean. She will eventually travel over 1,000 miles. One hour passes, and she gets hungry again.
She finds a “jellyfish” and wants to eat it. Little does she know that what she sees is not really a jellyfish, but a plastic bag that has ended up in the ocean. It was left as litter on the sidewalk and was washed down the storm drain after a rainstorm and into the ocean. Sea turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, which is one of their favorite meals. When people just throw away plastic bags, they could get in the ocean and and not just sea turtles are affected by it. It can actually affect other sea animals, like sea lions, etc. If the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle eats the bag, she might choke on it or it might get stuck somewhere in her body.
Suddenly, the young turtle sees a bright light coming from a small boat. A human hand goes into the water and picks up a plastic bottle that was floating on the surface. The turtle follows the boat and then remembers her goal which is to get the “jellyfish.” So she moves on. Then the man on the little boat picks up the small plastic bag. He is trying to help all sea creatures by picking up trash in the ocean. The turtle is confused, but she sees another plastic bag floating and swims faster than ever, but the man picks up the bag before she is able to reach it. The man sees the turtle and is amazed. He takes a picture of it and goes home.
The Olive Ridley Sea Turtle moves on and grows older, and now is fifty years old. It is nesting season and she has already nested once before. She is back on the same shore in Hawaii, where she was born. The adult turtle crawls on the sandy beach to the spot where it’s perfect to lay her eggs. She has mated and now she is ready to lay 100 to 200 eggs. She can hear the waves turning into white wash. It is in the middle of the night and she can see a black beach in front of her. Once she lays her eggs, she will go off and and continue her journey for the next forty years before she passes away. Turtles of her kind can usually live to be about 90 to 110 years old. This is the life cycle of an Olive Ridley Sea Turtle.
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The Green Sea Turtle
by: Nilaja Nettles
It’s 4:00 in the morning along the coast of Hawaii. A baby green sea turtle has hatched. It scrambles out of the hole her mother had dug with her front flippers. Now that she is out, she sees the distant ocean, seagulls, and seabirds and thinks, “I have to get past the seagulls.’’ This is the most dangerous time for the baby green sea turtle. Usually only a handful of baby turtles or hatchlings are able to make it to the ocean without getting eaten. She also sees bushes, trees, and sand. She hears wind, the waves crashing, and the squawks of seagulls. She is only as big as a bottle cap and she looks black and has sandy-colored crust around her eyes. She is pulling herself towards the sea when a crab pops up and sees her. The crab takes a chance and shoots out his claw for the hatchling, but he misses. She has finally reached the sea.
The baby green sea turtle is now a juvenile and has been in the sea for two years. Since she is not quite an adult, she still eats crabs, lobsters, jellyfish and other small fish. When she grows into an adult, she will only eat sea grasses, algae, and plankton. The juvenile green sea turtle decides to migrate, looking for food and eventually a mate. She uses her powerful front flippers to glide through the water. Since she is not a fish, she will need to come up to the water’s surface and catch some air every five hours.
As she swims along the coast, she suddenly gets caught in a fishing net. This net is for turtles like her. Many fishermen hunt green sea turtles for their soft meat. She snaps at the net with her mouth. As she gets pulled up to the surface of the ocean, she struggles to get out of the net. She sees the fish that are also caught in the net and eats them. She then looks at the bottom of the net and sees the deep blue sea. In a second, she bites the bottom of the net and swims away. She is one of the lucky turtles.
The green sea turtle has now been in the sea for ten more years. It is nesting season. She has already mated and goes back to the same beach where she was born. She digs a hole in the sand before she lays her eggs. She hopes that this is a good spot where her eggs will be safe from predators, including humans who also hunt for turtle eggs. She also hopes she will see one of her children. The mother green sea turtle crawls back to the water and swims away. In two months, one of her baby’s shell will crack and will follow in the steps of her mother.
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The Leatherback Sea Turtle
by: Coral Ortiz
It is noon at a private beach along the Atlantic Ocean. The trees sway with the gentle breeze of the wind. It is cloudy, but still a little warm due to the summer heat. “Scritch, scratch,” a turtle egg is hatching. It is a Leatherback sea turtle, the biggest turtle species on the planet. The bottle cap-sized hatchling waddles out of her boot-shaped nest and to the ocean with her four flippers. Oh no! But then a crab marches towards the little Leatherback hatchling, but she is lucky. She crawls into the ocean in time, right as the crab is about to strike.
Now, the Leatherback turtle needs some food. The little hatchling finds a school of jellyfish and CHOMP! It gets a mouthful of jellyfish. In a few more years, the Leatherback sea turtle will grow up. Fully grown leatherbacks can be about seven feet long and weigh as much 1,500 pounds.
She is now nine years old. During her life’s journey, she will travel the longest out of all the turtle species, an average of 3,700 miles. She is dark colored and has white and pink spots on her head. As she swims near the ocean’s floor looking for food, she suddenly sees a trawling net being dragged by a fishing boat. A trawling net is a net that goes down to the ocean floor and scrapes the sand, corals, and sea plants and damages the ocean floor. Because of how badly it damages the seafloor, it will take ten years for the seafloor to recover. Trawling nets are used to catch fish, and sometimes, there are fish that get caught that the fishermen don’t want. However, this trawling net is made just for the sea turtles. The fishermen are trying to catch them for their meat and also for their shells. She sees other turtles stuck and trying to get free so that they can go up for air. It has been quite a while since they have gone up for air. Usually, adult Leatherback turtles can hold their breath for 85 minutes. If they don’t get air soon, they will drown.
The Leatherback sea turtle swims away from the net. As she escapes, she looks up and sees a boat with a squid hanging off the edge, so she goes close to it and SNAP! She notices she is stuck on a long line! She wiggles and squirms left and right. She keeps wiggling and now she is really stuck! Then she sees a pair of human hands reaching out for her. The fisherman sees she is tangled. He gets a knife and cuts the string to free her so that he can pull her into the boat. The leatherback sees this knife heading for her. She is scared and so she puts her head in her shell, and then sticks her head back out and snaps at him. The man is startled and lets her go. She goes into the water with a SPLASH! As she swims away, the Leatherback sea turtle sees the other turtles on the hooks. She swims away as fast she can. Later on, she finds a school of jellyfish. She swims and gets another mouthful of jellyfish.
It is night time now in the Atlantic Ocean. The stars and the moon in the dark sky above reflect off the water, making it shimmer. The Leatherback sea turtle is safe at the moment. Soon she will mate and be ready to lay her eggs in the same beach where she was born.
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Sea Otter & Sea Lion
The Southern Sea Otter
by: Sebastien Montgrain
On a sunny day in June where seagulls are screeching and fish are swimming around in the gently flowing water of the Pacific Ocean, a male Southern Sea Otter is swimming in the kelp forest looking for a sea urchins to eat.
After three minutes, he comes up for air then goes back down again over and over until he gets a sea urchin. He comes to the surface of the water. He takes a rock out of a flap of skin on his thigh. He cracks the sea urchin and has a nice lunch.
The sea otter is ready to mate. He swims around for hours and hours. Then he finds two females. To mark that they are taken, he bites their noses and leaves a mark. He is able to mate with two females but can only have one baby. After seven months, they are ready to have a baby.
A male Southern Sea Otter pup is born. He weighs four pounds. He can already see, dive, swim, and he also has teeth and fur. His dad leaves him, but his mom cares for him.
One day mom sea otter is catching a mussel for her pup. Pup is swimming next to Mom. Pup needed to get air, but little do Mom and Pup know, there is a hungry eagle waiting for a small snack right above the water, flying around in circles. When Mom and Pup get to the surface of the water, Mom notices the eagle screeching down at them. The eagle dives for Pup, but Mom grabs Pup and speedily dives down into the water, just in time. When the eagle is gone, Mom gets a mussel and cracks it open and shares it with Pup. Then, she feeds him milk.
Pup is five months old now. He is almost ready to leave his mom. He is not a pup anymore. He is now a juvenile. Right now, they are just swimming in the kelp forest and coming up for air when a dark shadow emerges. They turn around. It is a man with a spear. He is hunting for his pelt.
The mom sea otter knows this is bad! She tells her five month old son to swim away with her. The chase is on. The sea otters use their webbed feet to swim away. The man throws the spear. It misses by a centimeter! Mom turns around and bites the man’s hand and swims away. The sea otters hide in the kelp forest until it is safe to go out. They eat a sea star for dinner, and then they go to sleep.
Now that Pup is ready to be without his mother, he soon will go and have a new life. But for now, he is sleeping with Mom in the Pacific Ocean in January, where everything is pitch black and quiet. Who knows what adventure they will soon have?
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The Stellar Sea Lion
by: Ava Hyde Mulno
Splish, splash! The water tumbles over the rocks. One early morning in May, a Steller Sea Lion is swimming in the northern Pacific Ocean with blue waves so clear that you can see in the water. She sees fish swimming in and out of rocks, seaweed, octopus, cod, squid, and salmon.
A 7.75 ton female Steller Sea Lion with brown leathery fur is swimming swiftly back and forth. Tiny little ear flaps that lay on the middle of her head and her whiskers are pulled back with the water. She comes across a male. They sniff each other’s noses. The male puts his back flipper over her back and they swim to land. The female is now pregnant. She will later give birth to three or four pups, but only one will be born at a time, rarely twins.
The male sea lion is out gathering food for his mate and himself. While he is out finding some cod to eat, the female hears something with her keen sense of hearing that will come in handy right about now. She hears a killer whale's tail splashing against the ocean’s surface. When the female hears this, she is now alert and calls her mate by using a call that sounds like this: “Honk, honk, coo, honk.’’ She makes those sounds in an alarming voice. The mate hears this, and as quickly as a cheetah runs, he paddles deep in the ocean with his back and front flippers to help his mate. But before he can get there, the killer whale has already tried to kill the female sea lion. The female sea lion has to be extra protective, because she is pregnant. She does not want her and her babies to die.
After a few minutes, the male protects his pregnant mate by coming up from behind the whale and biting it. The whale is now hurt. He swims away. Now the babies are safe and protected.
A year and two months pass. She will now swim to a sandy beach and have her baby pups. The pups are smaller versions of their parents and are only 35 pounds. The mother will have to nurse her pups on land and also spend the same amount of time at sea hunting for food. As the pups grow older, the mother will spend more time at in the ocean. After about six months, the pups will be ready to go off on their own. The father will now swim off to the ocean, leaving his young and his mate to find another female to mate.
The babies swim around looking for food. They see something long, skinny and white. They go up to it to get a closer look. When the ocean waves push it closer to the sea lion pups, they get tangled up in a rope that was washed away down a storm drain! They struggle to get out, but the more they struggle, the tighter the rope wraps around their necks. They try squealing and honking, but no one can help. Finally a human who is scuba diving sees the steller sea lion pups. The human is a part of an organization called, “Saving Ocean Species,” so he decides to help. He gets the rope untangled. The sea lions thank him by honking, then happily swims away. Later, they find an octopus, bite off its tentacles and eat contentedly.
A year and four months have gone by, and the steller sea lion pups are now fully grown and ready to mate. One is now swimming in the Pacific Ocean looking for a mate. After she mates, she will go to land on the sandy damp beach and have babies of her own.
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