California Sea lion

Zalophus californianus


Domain Eukarya- They contain all living organisms with at least one nucleus. Organism also can be multicellular or unicellular. Unlike plants they do not have a cell wall.

Kingdom Animalia - All animals in this kingdom are multicellular, and are heterotrophs. Most animals in this kingdom have an internal digestive system.

Phylum Chordata- All Chordata animals have bilateral symmetry which means they look the same on both sides. They also have a structure called a notochord

Sub Phylum Vertebrates- Vertebrates include all fishes, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals. All animals in this Sub Phylum have an endoskeleton.

Class Mammalia- Usually bigger animals spend a longer life than smaller animals. All animals in this class have hair at some stage of their lives.

Order Carnivora- All carnivorous animals have different food habits even though all eat meat. All members have very string teeth to rip through food easier.

Family Otariide- The family of Otariide includes 14 species. The skulls of this family are similar to the bear.

Genus Zalophus- This genus include the California Sea lion only

Species- Zalophus californianus

General Description

Length: Males are about 7 feet long. Females are 1 foot shorter.

Weight: Males can weigh 275 kgs to 390 kgs while females weigh from 91 kg 110kg .

Habitat : They live in the waters of California and northern Mexico. Sea lions can also be found in the Pacific coast.

Diet: Sea lions feed in small groups. They eat salmon, squid, rockfish, octopuses and other fish.

Color: Pups have a blackish brown coat when born but then replaced with a lighter shade of brown. This coat is shed after approximately 5 months and replaced with the adult skin. . Adult females can appear in a tanner shade.Male sea lions have a sagittal crest, which make it easier to distinguish between both genders.

Natural Range: Their range extends from British Columbia to Mexico. There is a miniature population in the Galapagos.

Predators: Their greatest predators are the White Shark and the Killer Whale.

Physical Description

They can pull their flippers into their bodies which helps them move around land more freely. Phocids do not have this ability which makes it harder for them to move on land. {Phocids is a group that include the seal}. The strong flippers that the sea lion has helps it move faster from predators. Sea lions can swim as fast as 20 miles an hour which is fast for an adult California sea lion. This speed cannot be done without their strong flippers. The sea lions body allows them to stop their heart from getting air for 5 minutes which is a lot of time to find food. They are born with the ability to have extraordinary breathing underwater and above water. So they can hear their prey easily. Underwater lions are born with spectacular eyesight which allows them to find predators easily. The sea lions nose is made to stay underwater for up to 40 minutes. They also have broader muzzles than seal which makes it easier to eat larger prey.

Behavioral Description

The California sea lion usually is in large groups. This adaptation helps the Sea lion scare predators because of their large group. California sea lions have the ability to hunt continuously for 30 hours. This gives them the chance to get more food for them and their babies. They use echolocation to help them hunt under the water. This echolocation lets them work as a group to satisfy their diet. Secondly they cooperate with each other and even with other species, such as porpoises to help them find food. They can swim as deep as 274 meters where they have found that there are the best fish. Sea lions can dive in the water and stay for 5 minutes without coming for breath which allows them to survive a shark attack. They defend their young and territory with great integrity. Predators cannot even come close to their young.


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