California Sea Lion (otariid) Zalophus californianus
California Sea Lion
California sea lions are known for their intelligence, playfulness, and noisy barking. Their color ranges from chocolate brown in males to a lighter, golden brown in females. They are members of the eared seals. They have external ear flaps and large flippers that they use to "walk" on land. In the ocean, they use their long front flippers to swim. California sea lions are our most common patient at PMMC.
California sea lions are found from Vancouver Island, British Columbia to the southern tip of Baja California in Mexico. You can also find them congregating on rocky areas, jetties, buoys off the coastline.
California sea lions are opportunistic eaters, feeding on squid, octopus, hake, Pacific whiting, sardines, jack, herring, rockfish, mackerel, and small sharks.
Diet at PMMC:
Herring, capelin and occasionally squid.
Males reach 750-850 pounds and seven 8 feet in length.
Females grow to 180-220 pounds and up to 6 feet in length.
Can swim up to 25 mph, with short bursts of 30 mph and dive to 450 feet for 20 minutes
Most pups are born from May - June and weigh 15 to 20 pounds. They nurse for at least four to six months and sometimes over a year. Mothers recognize pups on crowded rookeries through smell and vocalizations. Pups also learn to recognize the smell and vocalizations of their mothers.
The current population is approximately 260,000
Large sharks, killer whales, and humans