California Sea Lion

California Sea Lion

Zalophus californianus

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Quick Facts
Body Length:
Male: 6.5 to 9 feet; Female 5 to 6.5 feet
Males: 450 to 1200 lbs; females: 110 to 350 lbs
Wild diet: Fish, squid, and octopus
Zoo Diet: Herring, capelin, and squid
Distribution: West Coast of North America from Vancouver, Canada to Baja, Mexico
Habitat: Rocky beaches and coastal waters

California sea lions are are sexually dimorphic (2 distinct gender forms); Males are larger and darker and have a crest on the forehead. California sea lions are dark, chestnut brown. They have thick fur and external ear flaps. The weight of their bodies can be supported by front flippers that are large, furless, and without claws.

Status in the Wild

California sea lions are not threatened in the wild and they are protected by the United States Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended. Their range extends south from Vancouver Island, British Columbia to the southern tip of Baja California in Mexico. There is also a relatively small population in the Galapagos Islands.

Conservation Programs

Listed as of "least concern" on the IUCN Red List (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources)

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