Creature Feature: California Sea Lion

Common Facts:

Scientific name – Zalophus californianus

Average life span – 30 years or less

Diet – Fish, shellfish, squid

Size – 5.5 to 7.25 feet

If you’ve ever been to Pier 39, then you have seen (and heard) a California Sea Lion. These sea lions are fun, have playful personalities and are very smart. They are also a force to be reckoned with in the wild.

The California Sea Lion is a fast and sleek animal—faster than all other seals and sea lions! They can swim up to 25 miles per hour. They can also remain underwater for up to TEN minutes before they have to come up for air. This makes hunting much easier for them, since their primary food source are animals like fish, squid and shellfish.

California Sea Lions can be found all along the western coast of North America and are known to live near the Galapagos Islands as well. Males gather harems of females and huge groups of sea lions will gather on the shores to breed and give birth. California Sea Lions are very social creatures and can almost always be found in groups.

Thankfully, the population of California Sea Lions is growing. There are approximately 238,000 of them right now. So if you are ever in the Galapagos or near the western coast of North America, keep an eye out for these fun animals. Maybe even buy them some fish if it’s allowed where you are at. They love that!



Written by: Kari Shirley, intern


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