California Sea Lions

Scientific NameZalophus californianus

Native To Pacific coast of North America and the Galapagos Islands

Habitat Rocky shores

Diet Over 50 species of fish including: salmon, octopuses, northern anchovy, herring, opaleye and squid. At West Edmonton Mall, we feed our sea lions squid, herring, capelin, smelt and mackerel.

Size and Age Males up to 2.4 m (8 ft) long, 340 kg (750 lbs), females generally no larger than 100 kg (220 lbs); average lifespan of 20-30 years

Natural History

California sea lions are “eared seals” which are commonly mistaken as "true seals." Sea lions (or eared seals) and true seals can be differentiated by the way they move on land and by their ears. Sea lions have a rotating hip bone, which allows them to tuck in their hind flippers so they can walk, run, jump and climb. True seals, on the other hand, have a fused hip bone and are not capable of walking, running or even jumping; they slide more on their bellies. Sea lions have external ear flaps that are easy to see, whereas true seals simply have tiny holes covered by fur.

Near Threatened

Conservation Status

Like all marine mammals, California sea lions are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). Common threats for these animals are: incidental catch and entanglement in fishing gear, gunshot wounds, or other human-caused injuries—commercial fisherman view them as a nuisance.

Interesting Facts

  • Sea lions have a total of 40-60 vibrissae (whiskers) that are supplied with muscles and nerves. They are used to find fish when the water is dark and visibility is low.
  • They can swim as fast as 40 km (25 mi) an hour.
  • They have the ability to dive as far as 274 m (899 ft), but generally they won’t dive that deep because their food is found in shallower waters.
  • Sea lions have a blubber layer that insulates and keeps them warm. Excess blubber can also function as an energy reserve. This is particularly important for males, due to their fasting during breeding season.

Our Sea Lions

Quinty

Quinty is our youngest and smallest California Sea Lion at Marine Life at West Edmonton Mall. She was born at the Royal Artis Zoo in Amsterdam and arrived at Marine Life on December 20, 2008, when she was only a year and a half old. Quinty celebrated her 10th birthday on June 13, 2017.

  • Quinty loves attention, whether it’s from trainers or sea lions. She is incredibly smart and learns behaviors quite quickly.
  • She has a very playful personality and loves her enrichment. A couple of her favorite items would be plastic cups, her buoy, puzzle feeders and fishicles (fish frozen in toys and ice).


Clara

Clara is our oldest Sea Lion at Marine life. She turned 23 years old on June 16, 2017. She was born at the Black Pool Zoo in England and arrived at Marine life on October 23, 2004. She arrived to West Edmonton Mall with her brother Pablo and Kelpie, our dominant female.

  • Clara is known as the sweetheart of the sea lions. She gets along with all the sea lions and also has a heart shaped noise. Clara is also a very quiet Sea Lion. She does not use vocals very often, only in social scenarios with the other sea lions.
  • As much as Clara likes her enrichment and toys, Clara’s favorite thing is learning new behaviors. She is incredibly motivated and loves to participate in her sessions.


Kelpie

Kelpie is our second oldest Sea Lion at Marine life. She turned 23 years old on June 23, 2017. She was born at the Black Pool Zoo in England and arrived at Marine life on October 23, 2004. She arrived to West Edmonton Mall with Pablo and Clara.

  • Kelpie has big eyes and asymmetrical whiskers along with rub mark on lower left side of hip. Kelpie’s nose is broader compared to Clara.
  • Kelpie is highly motivated when being trained new behaviors. She enjoys enrichment and will bark in anticipation of reinforcement or when bridged.


Pablo

Pablo is our only male Sea Lion at Marine life. He turned 21 years old on June 14, 2017. He was born at the Black Pool Zoo in England and arrived at Marine life on October 23, 2004. She arrived to West Edmonton Mall with Pablo and Clara.

  • Pablo is dominant over all 4 females. Like all male California Sea Lions, Pablo has a sagittal crest, which is a raised forehead. Females have a lower smoother forehead.
  • Pablo likes to submerge to the bottom of the pools and pens to rest. He is very motivated by diversity of location and reinforcement schedules for all types of sessions. He really enjoys his fishicles and enrichment devices.


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