Marine Mammal Care Center
Los Angeles

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

ORDER:
SUBORDER:
FAMILY:
GENUS:
SPECIES:
SUB-SPECIES:

Carnivora
Pinnipedia
Otariidae
Zalophus
californianus
californicus

 

 

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