California Sea Lion

(Zalophus californianus)

Sea lions are eared seals. They are extremely intelligent, well-coordinated and very playful.




Adult (Average) Size: Male: 6’6″ to 8’2″, 440 to 800 lbs.; Female: 5′ to 6′, 100 to 250 lbs.
Habitat: Sandy or rocky island beaches; sometimes on mainland shorelines, coastal islands, or in caves protected by steep cliffs
Range: Vancouver to Baja California; Gulf of California; Preferred breeding grounds are islands from California’s Channel Islands south through the Gulf
Migratory Patterns: Long distance seasonal migrations. Adult and sub-adult males tend to travel north for winter; females stay in range of breeding areas.
Social Organization During Breeding: Colonial; moderate sized to large groups
Mating Behavior: Polygynous
Sexual Maturity: Male: 4 to 7 years; Female: 4 to 5 years
Mating Season: Early July
Gestation Period: 11 months (3 months delayed implantation)
Pupping Season: Mid-May to late June (peak pupping season: Mid‑June)
Size at Birth: 2 ft. (10 lbs. to 15 lbs.)
Lactation (Nursing) Period: 6 to 12 months (Length of lactation period is known to vary)
Usual Diet: Squid, octopus, herring and anchovies
Amount of Food per Day: Juvenile: 5 lbs. to 8 lbs.; Adults: l0 lbs. to 40 lbs.
Predators: Orcas, great white sharks and bull sharks
Diving Depth: California Sea Lions generally do not need to dive very deeply, since most of their food is in shallow waters. They can dive to depths of 450 ft.
Submersion Times: They can remain submerged for 10 to 15 minutes
Longevity: Average lifespan for most pinnipeds is estimated to be from 15 to 25 years
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