California Sea Lion

California Sea Lion
Zalophus Californianus

  • The California Sea Lion is classified as a marine mammal and belongs to the family Otariidae which means "little ears".
  • The sea lion is considered to be a pinniped which means that it features a winged foot
  • Males are significantly bigger weighing in at 850# and 8 ft. long. Females are smaller weighing 220 pounds and 6.5 ft.
  • Males are called bulls Females are called cows and the babies are called pups.
  • Their eyesight and hearing are quite important in the water and on land.
  • They are very fast swimmers and have been clocked at speed of 25mph.



  • California Sea lions are found all along the coast of California.
  • The have even been found to extend into the Western Portion of New Mexico.
  • Usually they stay no more than 10 miles out to sea.
  • They live in large groups called colonies
  • More than 1,000 sea lions can make up a colony

  • It is believed that eared seals and walrus' descended from a bear-like ancestor that returned to the sea 30 million years ago in the North Pacific
  • In the wild, the California sea lion is a sleek animal, faster than any other sea lion or seal.
  • It has a streamlined body and powerful flippers.
  • A California sea lion's foreflippers are large and winglike.
  • The first digit is larger than the others. It's strengthened by fibrous tissue along the leading edge.
  • Sea lions use their foreflippers in an up-and-down, wing-like motion to propel themselves through the water.


Swimming Abilities
  • On land a they can rotate its hind flippers underneath the pelvic girdle,
  • In the water, a sea lion extends its hind flippers and uses them to help steer, enabling it to support its weight and walk on all fours.
  • They can swim up to 25 miles per hour.


Feed on a wide variety of fish, squid and sometimes clams.
Have a remarkably big appetite and must consume about 14% of its body weight in food every day.
Eat alone or in small to large groups
Able to dive up to 600 feet for food
They accomplish this by pinching their nostrils together before they enter the water.


  • Male Sea Lions are mature about at about 3 years of age
  • The females will begin to mate when they are about 4 years old
  • The males go to shore around May to stake out the land and to make their claims.CAsealion12.jpeg
  • The females will come to the shore a couple of weeks later.
  • The mating with the male she is now with will occur in either late June or July
  • Females give birth and mate again for the next season within a few weeks.
  • The mother’s will remain on land or ice with their pups for the first couple of weeks of life.

  • Often suffer from an array of health problems such as pneumonia,
epilepsy and various types of cancer.
  • Predators such as sharks and Killer Whales.
  • Human hunting.
  • Ingestion of plastic and other foreign bodies.
  • Fishing nets


Sea Lions are considered to be highly sociable intelligent animals.
They have been used to teach tricks to for entertainment.
Make a variety of sounds to interact with each other.
We also have been able to test their intelligence.


Helpful uses with the US Navy
  • Have demonstrated the ability to mark and retrieve objects for the Navy in the ocean.
  • They assist in duties ranging from mine detection and object retrieval
  • Have excellent low-light vision and underwater directional hearing capabilities useful for deepwater object retrieval missions and swimmer detection.