The La Jolla Cove near San Diego is a well-known hangout for sea lions, so an unknown woman thought it would be a great idea to take some photos of the sleeping beasts — a nice memento of a beautiful day. She crept within a few feet of one of the sea lions, which turned out to be a mistake.

The seal lion she was photographing woke up.

At that point, the 600-pound brute began moving quickly toward the woman and dozens of other onlookers at the cove. The result was absolute mayhem.

In the water, sea lions move like living torpedoes, surfing the waves better than any human — and having just as much fun. On land? Not so much.

Despite their playfulness with each other, sea lions can be incredibly dangerous to humans. They’ve been known to bite, and in one case in Western Australia in 2007, a sea lion leaped from the water and seriously mauled a 13-year-old girl surfing behind a speedboat.

But when you have 600 pounds of angry sea lion bearing down on you, you don’t think of how rare an attack from one of these beautifully ugly beasts can be.

Fox 5:

Sea lion experts say the initial idea the two large males were charging people is mistaken. Carol Toye with the Sierra Club told FOX 5 the sea lions were attempting to establish a territory for mating, and the people nearby were simply caught up in the scuffle.

“These were two young bulls and they were chasing each other,” Toye told FOX 5. “They will go about their business just as if we’re not there, which makes it even more important to really keep the distances.”

Experts say the pair in the video were between 500 and 600 pounds. A full-grown bull sea lion weighs between 800 and 1,000 pounds and is not normally outwardly aggressive, but the species has been known to bite people.

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Local regulations, which are rarely enforced, call for tourists to remain at least 50 feet away from animal life. In addition to sea lions, the shore is home to several species of seals, sea otters, and whales that feed on them — including killer whales.

But those sea mammals have been coming to that shoreline for thousands of years. Humans have melted into the background, which is why the sea lions ignored them in their quest to establish a territory for mating.

I hope the girls were impressed.

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