Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



American Trail Photo Gallery

  • California sea lions live on the rocky and sandy shores of islands surrounding the California coast, as well as on the coast of the mainland.
  • Sea lions were hunted for their skin and oil or killed by fisherman. Some populations have rebounded thanks to the protection of international laws.
  • Sea lions are the fastest pinniped swimmers and can reach speeds up to 25 miles per hour in the water.
  • Gray seals hunt, sleep, and even breed in water. This species can dive to depths of up to 475 feet and hold their breath for up to 20 minutes at a time.
  • Gray seals rely on their sensitive whiskers to navigate. Their claws provide traction when maneuvering on ice and their rear flippers help with swimming.
  • Harbor seals have the widest distribution of any seal and can be found in both the North Atlantic and Northern Pacific oceans.
  • During the winter months, the thick layer of insulating blubber on harbor seals can account for up to 30 percent of it's body mass, providing thermoregulation.
  • Bald eagles live across North America, but are always found close to a body of water.
  • Gray wolves are the largest members of the canine family and is among the most social of carnivores.
  • Depending on habitat location, the coloration of gray wolves can range from white to black with the majority exhibiting light brown or gray coloration.
  • Ravens are highly intelligent, using their beaks to rip objects open.
  • Beavers are the largest rodents in North America and the second-largest rodents in the world. Their teeth never stop growing.
  • Beavers fell trees to build dams and lodges. They will repair breaks and holes in their dwellings.
  • The North American river otter is native to the United States and Canada, living in both the water and on land.
  • North American river otters can dive as deep as 60 feet and hold their breath for up to 8 minutes.
  • The brown pelican is the only species of pelican that lives mostly in a marine habitat.
  • Brown pelicans were once severely endangered in the United States, primarily due to pesticide poisoning.

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