California sea lion

Zalophus californianus

Sea lions are different than seals due to having small external ear flaps and their ability to bend their rear flippers forward under their bodies to move on land.

 

They breed on coasts, where a single baby, or pup, is born after 11 months of gestation. Three to four weeks after delivery, females go into heat. During this period, the male defends a territory in which he tries to gather together as many females as possible.

Breeding program

ESB_Zoo_Captura

Natural habit

Pacific coast of Canada, Mexico and the United States.

California sea lion - Zoo barcelona
  • Distribution / Resident
  • Breeding
  • Wintering
  • Subspecies

Risk level

  • Extint
  • Extint in the wild
  • Critically endangered
  • In Danger
  • Vulnerable
  • Near threatened
  • Minor concern
  • Insufficient data
  • Not evaluated
Preocupació menor

Taxonomy

Class
Mammalia
Order
Carnivorous
Family
Otariidae

Physical characteristics

150-390 kg
Birth Weight: 6-9 kg
200-240 cm
Up to 30 years in captivity

Biology

Habitat
Sea
Social life
Gregarious
Feeding
Piscivorous

Reproduction

Gestation
310-340
Days
Baby
1

Discover how they are

Biology

Description

Sea lions are different than seals due to having small external ear flaps and their ability to bend their rear flippers forward under their bodies to move on land.

 

The species at the Barcelona Zoo—the California sea lion—can be up to two metres long, with males weighing over 300 kg. Females are almost never longer than one metre and weigh about 100 kg.

Habitat

Estuaries, bays and coasts.

Feeding

They basically feed on fish, octopi and squid.

Reproduction

Once a year, a single pup is born on the coast after a gestation period of some 360 days. Females become receptive again some 3 weeks later, when copulation takes place. During this period, each male defends a territory, trying to bring together a harem of females.

Conduct

Gregarious, they form large groups that rest on sandy beaches or rocks. They do not generally stray far from the coastline when they head out to sea to fish. Males are territorial and defend harems that can consist of dozens of females. Their main predators are killer whales and white sharks.

Status and conservation programs

Populations in many regions of the American continent are very abundant and they have even been known to enter and live in ports. Until recently, the populations on the Galapagos Islands and islands in Sea of Japan were considered  subspecies of the California sea lion, but they are now considered separate species. They are Zalophus japonicus (Japanese sea lion), at present considered extinct, and Zalophus wollebaeki (Galapagos sea lion), which is endangered.