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California Sea Lion Zalophus californianus


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California Sea Lion, male (bull)

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Family: Otariidae, Eared Seals view all from this family

Description Unique with doglike face and brown color. Males are larger, darker, and have a thick neck and an enlarged, pale forehead. Pups are born dark, but quickly molt into a lighter blond pelage like females. First toe on hind flipper is largest.

Dimensions 2.0-2.5m, 350-400kg; / 1.6-1.8m, 90-120kg

Breeding Returns to shore for pupping and mating, where annual aggregations on rocky or sandy beaches are full of noise and activity.

Habitat Beaches, shorelines & estuaries, Offshore waters

Range California, Northwest, Western Canada

Discussion This is the most familiar and commonly kept pinneped in zoos and aquaria, as well as circuses. Males wander north in the winter as far as Vancouver. Often unwary near cities. Feeds on small fish and squid at sea.