Fast Food
Amazing Animals

Bonneville Dam, Oregon


Cecil the sea lion will do just about anything to get his fill of tasty salmon. He'll even climb a ladder—a fish ladder, that is. A fish ladder is a series of water-covered steps that salmon swim up to get around barriers such as dams. Local sea lions hunt the fish at the bottom of the Bonneville Dam fish ladder. But Cecil figured out how to hoist himself up the ladder, where he could have his own private dinner party.

GONE FISHING  "It did look pretty funny watching this 500-pound sea lion climb the fish ladder," says biologist Robert Stansell. “But we were worried his scent might scare the salmon away, and his big body could have damaged research equipment." Scientists are now installing devices that blast high-pitched sounds underwater to scare the sea lion away from the fish ladder. Cecil may be a clever fisherman, but his fast-food days will soon be over!


Text by Gail Skroback Hennessey
Photograph by Izanbar, Dreamstime

Check out more Amazing Animals ...


Visit Nat Geo Education.

Amazing Animals

Get all the stories!


Mouse, cat, and dog play piggyback

Tricky Tentacles

This octopus opens jars!