Californian Sea Lion Profile

Scientific Name: Zalophus californianus


Region: Can be found off the west Coast of America from Alaska to the Mexican Gulf.


Size: Males are typically grown up to 8 feet long and weigh up to 770 Lbs, while females are typically smaller at around 5.9 feet Long and weigh up to approximately 220 Lbs.


Diet: Marine Carnivores, living mostly off a diet of fish, shellfish and squid.


Lifespan: 20-30 years.


Status in the Wild: There are approximately 240,000 Californian sea lions in the wild, with number slowly increasing.


Californian Sea Lions are truly amazing creatures, as intelligent and sociable as they are powerful swimmers.

These adorable, fun loving marine mammals are often see playing in the wild, they are know to love surfing large waves off the American west coast. Sea lions spend most of their lives either in the water where they hunt and eat, predominantly fish, shellfish, squid and on occasion small sharks or on land close to the shore.

Only Orca’s (Killer Whales) and Great White Sharks are brave enough to try and hunt Sea Lions, in the wild and it is a rare occasion that one is caught. This is because as well as being fast underwater sea lions have far superior reflex’s and manoeuvrability in the water then either the shark or the Orca, the sea lions rapid underwater movement, zig zag patterns and porpoising, where they can jump up to 20 feet out of the water is often enough to confuse a Shark or Killer Whale and force them to give up the chase.

Sea lions live in large groups and can often be seen sleeping or relaxing packed in close to each other on shore lines, or floating off the coast together in groups called rafts. Pups are usually born between June and July and are usually raised by their mothers on crowded shores or on rocky islands, while Males patrol the area keeping any potential threats away and barking constantly. The tiny pups are born blind and learn to recognise their mother by sound and smell.

One spot famous for its population of Californian Sea Lions is Pier 39 in San Francisco (Pictured) where Sea Lions first showed up on the dock following in earthquake in 1989. The abundance of food in the harbor and lack of predators made this an ideal spot for the Sea Lions, to chill out. Authorities in The Bay area build floating wooden jetties for the Sea Lions to haul out on making the spot even more popular with the Sea Lions and with the locals and Tourists who loved seeing these fantastic creatures up close. Though numbers change all the time Sea Lions are now an ever present fixture on Pier 39 with a live web cam feed set here  ,Take a look it’s really fantastic.

Closer to home, only last year Dublin Zoo completely overhauled its Californian Sea Lion enclosure and created the awesome Sea Lion Cove, where zoo goers can now view the Sea Lions through massive underwater windows, it’s a great experience getting to see the Sea Lions showing off under water, I often get the impression they enjoy watching us as much as we enjoy watching them, why not check out This video on our YouTube Channel which was Taken at  Sea Lion Cove and see for yourself

Got any great Californian Seal Lion Stories or Pics as always wed love you to send them to us at, tweet them to us @thepktzoo or share them with us on Facebook or Instagram.

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