Identity card

LATIN NAME: Zalophus californianus

FAMILY: Otariidae

PHYLUM: Chordata

CLASS: Mammalia

Sea-lions almost became extinct, but as a result of protective measures they are once more flourishing in the wild.

The sea-lion, also known as the California sea-lion, is found in open water and on rocky coasts on the Pacific seaboard of the USA and also in the Galapagos Islands.

Its diet is made up of fish and molluscs. Its vibrissae, or moustaches, play an important role in the search for food and in capturing prey.

It measures between 2 and 2.5 metres long and weighs between 110 and 250 kg.

  • Distribution :

    It lives on the Western coast of America, in the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean. Some live in San Francisco Bay. It does not live in extreme polar regions but is more frequently found in intertropical zones.
  • IUCN Status :

    Least concern.

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Find out more about the sea-lion

Sea-lions are marine mammals and so have to come up to the surface frequently to breathe.

Sea-lions can be distinguished from seals by the fact that they have external ears and can walk on all fours using their front flippers.

Seals have no external ears and move by crawling on the ground.

Sea-lions can live to over 15 years.

At NAUSICAA, the sea-lions have not been taken from their natural habitat. They are the result of exchanges with other European zoo parks where they were born in captivity.

Sea-lions reach sexual maturity at around 4 or 5 years. The male has a harem that may comprise up to twenty females.









Crédits photo du bandeau : © Alexis Rosenfeld – Divergence
Crédits photo de la galerie : © Sophie FALLON / © Alexis Rosenfeld – Divergence

Activities AT NAUSICAA


Every day, there are events focused on Nausicaa’s main species. With training and feeding sessions and talks on life in Europe’s largest aquarium, your visit will be a rich and entertaining experience!
Learn about the life of fishes, hear some surprising stories and enjoy the antics of some amazing animals.

Meet our 58 000 animals