California Sea Lion

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Animal Profile

Scientific name Zalophus californianus
Class Mammal

Males – 7 feet (2.1 m)

Females – 6 feet (1.8 m)


Males – 500 pounds (226 kg)

Females – 220 pounds (100 kg)

Life span 20.8 years (MLE)
Gestation 8 to 11 months
Number of young at birth 1
Size at birth 2 to 3 feet (62 to 85 cm) long, 13 to 20 pounds (6 to 9 kg)
Age of maturity 4 – 5 years
Conservation Status Not endangered but protected by U.S. government

West Coast Livin’
California sea lions are found from Vancouver Island, British Columbia to Baja California in Mexico. Sea lions are air breathing mammals. They spend most of their time in the water and come ashore to breed. California sea lions are social and like to be in packs.

Just like a seal? Not quite…
Unlike seals, sea lions have hind flippers that point forward and can be used on land. Also, they have ears that are on the outside of their head. Male California sea lions are usually a chocolate brown color, while the females are a lighter brown.

Smarty pants
Sea lions are known for their intelligence, which is approximately equal to that of a dog. They even have a loud and noisy bark. The zoo’s sea lions show off their skills at 11 AM and 3 PM daily during their feeding demonstration.

Fast flippers!
When sea lions are swimming, they often jump out of the water to gain speed and swim faster.

What do wild sea lions eat?

  • Fish
  • Squid
  • Shellfish