Californian Sealion

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Animal File

Common Name:
Californian Sealion
Scientific Name:
Zalophus californianus
Size: 1.7 - 2.2 m long
Weight: 275 - 390 kg
Native to North America
Oceans and Seas

Conservation Status

Least concern

One of the most popular displays at Blackpool Zoo that of the sea lions carried out in the Active Oceans pool, the largest of its kind in the UK. Californian sea lions are very outgoing and playful animals and, whilst their natural behaviours can be demonstrated for educational purposes in zoos, the United States Navy has trained them to detect underwater equipment and mines as they are able to dive to almost 200 meters below the surface of the sea. They are also fast swimmers than any other species of sea lion or seal.

Male sea lions are called “bulls”, the females are “cows”, but their young are “pups” and they live in “rookeries” – very confusing! Sea lions have long whiskers on their noses which are attached to highly sensitive pressure and touch receptors in the skin which help the sea lion to catch fish and detect the movement of predators such as sharks in the water. Sea lions live, on average, about 17 years in the wild. One pup is born at the same time, almost to the day, each year, and they feed mainly on fish and squid. At the Zoo, their diet mainly comprises mackerel, sprats and herring.

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