Californian Sea Lions

The ‘performing seal’ of marine parks and aquariums, the Californian sea lion is playful, curious and an excellent athlete of the water.  Capable of swimming at high speeds, they can communicate with one another when underwater by sounds produced using air retained in their lungs.

Sea Lions are adapted for movement on land as well as in the water. Their front flippers have a bone structure similar to that in our arms and hands. Swimming with these flippers propels the sea lion forward, while the hind flippers steer, a bit like a rudder on a boat. They use both sets of flippers to walk, but are less at home on dry land.

During breeding season in July, males claim territories that they guard and defend against other males. There can be as many as 16 females to 1 male in these territories and competition is fierce!

Scientific name
Zalophus californianus
10-15 years in the wild, 25-35 years in captivity.
Fast facts
On land, they gather in large groups called Rookeries.
In water, sea lions form smaller groups caller Rafts.
The sea lion is considered to be a pinniped which means that it has a winged foot.
Conservation status
Least concern
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