California Sea Lion - The California Sea Lions of British Columbia, Canada.


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British Columbia Outdoor Wilderness Guide



California Sea Lion
Zalophus califonianus


Description - Typical colouring of California Sea Lions ranges from tan to chocolate brown and may appear black when wet. The head has a pointed muzzle and the profile resembles that of a dog. The hair is short; the flippers are long and leathery with nails. An adult male is larger weighing about 800 pounds with a sagittal crest or bump on the top of the head; the female who is considerably smaller, averages 250 pounds.

Distribution - The California Sea Lion occurs from Baja California to Alaska.

Biology - This playful, noisy, exuberant, quick learner is the "trained seal" of the circus. It is highly adaptable to any surrounding and use a variety of habitats. When resting on rocks or beaches they point their noses skyward and may be seen laying atop one another. When at sea they raft together, playing and leaping clear of the surface. Their long fore flippers enable them to make powerful strokes while swimming and they may reach speeds of 25 mph. They are very vocal and bark like dogs; the pups have a bleatlike call.

The California Sea Lion prey on schooling fish, rockfish, squid, flatfish, hake, lamprey, dogfish and salmon. This healthy population continues to flourish despite ongoing conflicts with commercial and sport fisheries.


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California Sea Lion - The California Sea Lions of British Columbia, Canada.