California Sea Lion

Zalophus californianus

About California Sea Lions

ArthurAs their name suggests, California sea lions come from the western coastline of North America, but their true home range reaches from Mexico to as far north as Canada. The second part of their name gives you a clue as to their habitat, areas close to the sea. The sea provides hunting grounds for the California sea lion which is a superb hunter, yet these animals are adapted to life on land and in water. They spend the majority of their time on land, living in large groups with females coming ashore in May to have their pups on breeding beaches. Here the largest males fight and defend territories. Adult California sea lion males can grow to 2.5m (8ft) in length and over 300kg (661lbs) in weight. Female California sea lions reach 1.75m (5ft 6″) and 100kg (200lbs) in weight. California sea lions are carnivores and their diet includes fish and squid.

Our Sea Lions

Our sea lions are all males, our training team know them very well, training with them regularly using a simple reward system. It’s a great chance for stress-free and relaxed health check examinations by veterinarians, as well as showing guests to the park their amazing abilities and adaptations. The display helps guests learn more about these fascinating animals, the importance of training and the close relationship the sea lions have with the training teams.

Fact Finder

California sea lions are faster than any other type of sea lion or seal, they can swim at 25mph.

The rear flippers can rotate forward to enable them to move on land. They can also stand up and climb over obstacles.

A thick layer of blubber insulates them from the cold when they are in the sea.

They can stay underwater for up to 10 minutes before resurfacing for air.

The California sea lion hunts its prey in water and their diet includes fish, squid and shellfish.

California sea lions aren’t the top predator in their patch of the globe, they have their own predators; killer whales and great white sharks.

California sea lions can be found from the coast of Mexico to Canada.

California sea lion populations in the wild have been able to recover since their protection in the US and Mexico in the mid-20th century.

There are natural problems such as El Nino, that have an effect on food availability, especially when coinciding with birthing time, meaning many starve. The pressures from the fish industries also brings California sea lions into conflict with humans.

The Galapagos sea lion is classed as endangered and the Japanese sea lion has been extinct since the 1970’s due to commercial fishing.


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