Swimmers have had to stay out of the water in a San Francisco, California park after a cranky sea lion bit 14 people and chased 10 others out of his lagoon.
California sea lions are known for their intelligence, playfulness and loud barking, according to the Marine Mammal Center Web site.
But biting and chasing seems to be over the top for sea lion playfulness, at least for the swimmers who were bitten or chased from the lagoon. One person was bitten six times this week, ending up with two puncture wounds and four cuts, CNN news reported.
"I was swimming along, and I felt a brush under my feet. And I thought, 'These feel like whiskers.' So I stopped, and the animal popped up. He/she looked at me," said Celeste McMullin.
McMullin started swimming away but was followed by the aggressive sea lion that bit her and bumped against her all the way back to shore.
Experts are not sure what is wrong with the creature. They say the aggressive behavior could be an effort to protect his harem of mates or that this sea lion could have a brain damage from toxic algae.
But since sea lions migrate officials are advising swimmers to avoid the lagoon until this creature leaves.
"The migration has started, and the animals are moving north to Washington state and Oregon," said Marine Mammal Center veterinarian Frances Gulland.