Sneaky Sea Lion Snatches Fish From Fisherman’s Hands

It may sound like a horror movie—some large creature leaps out of the ocean, snatching a fish right from your fingers—but for one sneaky sea lion, this scenario just means lunch.

In a recent YouTube video, two fishermen stand on the deck of their boat, proudly displaying the Mahi Mahi that they caught earlier in the day when, out of nowhere, a sneaky sea lion pops its head up beside the boat, grabs one of the fish by the tail, and swipes it right from the fisherman’s hands.

The men laugh it off and joke about the thieving sea lion’s “crime.”  But hey, one sea lion’s crime is another man’s hilarious viral video.

This particular sea lion, nicknamed Pancho by the locals, has become a common sighting in the vicinity of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where a film crew was shooting an episode for their show Chef on the Water.  Apparently, Pancho is somewhat of a local legend in his home town, and it turns out that he may not be the only water-dwelling creature to employ sneaky tactics for a quick meal.

Fishermen in Hawaii claim that Hawaiian monk seals—a species that is beginning to settle on the main Hawaiian islands—can pick through fishing nets with their fins to steal an easy snack.  Marine experts, however, have used Crittercam technology to uncover what these seals actually do underwater.  They haven’t seen stealing from nets, but they do see lots of sleeping!  Hardly the marauding, Pancho style visage imagined.

In this case though, there’s no denying the fact that Poncho got the best of his human counterparts. Really, it’s just another case of man vs. nature. And in this case, nature won.

Go, nature, go!

P.S. I may or may not have had to look up the difference between a seal and a sea lion for this blog. Don’t judge. For anyone else that’s interested, check out NOAA’s handy explainer here.



Meet the Author
Alexis Manning has worked for National Geographic Television and National Geographic News. She has a passion for travel, conservation, and photography.