California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus)

California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus) are the most common marine mammal found on the western coast of the United States. They live on rocky coastlines and in surf zones eating a variety of seafood such as squid, octopus, and fish.

  • Males and females are sexually dimorphic. Males can reach 8ft in length and weigh up to 770lbs. Their coats are light or dark brown and sometimes black. Males have a large cone on their foreheads called a sagittal crest. Females are smaller than males and can reach 6ft in length and weigh up to 220lbs.
  • Breeding season for California sea lions begins in May and can run through August. Males establish territories and create rookeries. The reproductive cycle of a pregnant female lasts up to 12 months. The gestation period is 9 months and can possibly last for 12 months due to delayed implantation. Delayed implantation allows for new sea lion pups to be born in June or July.

South American Sea Lions (Otaria flavescens)

  • South American, or Patagonian, sea lions are found in abundance along the rocky coasts of South America where they thrive on rocky coastlines and consume several different species of fish, cephalopods, and sometimes even small sea birds and fur seals.

The males and females are sexually dimorphic. The males have large heads, robust chests and necks, and a hardy mane. They tend to be light or dark brown in color and can grow to 9ft long and up to 1000lbs! Females are smaller than males and only reach 7ft. in length and 330lbs.

Breeding occurs from August – December and pups are born between December and February.

Who are the Pinnipeds?

Sea Lions and Seals:

One of the biggest misconceptions about Pinnipeds is that seals and sea lions are the same animal, but in reality, they’re very different! Here are a few ways you can tell them apart:



There are three different subspecies of walruses living in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic oceans! They can easily be differentiated and recognized by their long tusks, whiskers, and size!

Sea Lion Facts:

  • There are 7 current species of sea lions:
    • South American/Patagonian – (Otaria flavescens – IUCN Red Listed: Least Concern)
    • Californian – (Zalophus californianus – IUCN Red List: Least Concern)
    • Galapagos – (Zalophus wollebaeki – IUCN Red List: Endangered)
    • Australian – (Neophoca cinerea – IUCN Red List: Endangered)
    • Japanese – (Zalophus japonicus – IUCN Red List: Extinct)
    • Steller – (Eumetopias jubatus – IUCN Red List: Near Threatened)
    • New Zealand – (Phocarctos hookeri – IUCN Red List: Endangered)


  • Sea Lions can hold their breath for up to 10 minutes.
  • Sea Lions can reach speeds of up to 25mph!