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California Sea Lion

Scientific Name: Zalophus californianus

Habitat: Pacific coast of North America

Food: Fish, squid, and other sea life

Facts: Pinnipeds, the group of marine carnivores that includes seals and sea lions, go on land to reproduce, molt (shed their fur), and often to sleep. Of all the pinnipeds, the California sea lion is the most agile and skillful on a solid surface. A sea lion can stay underwater for nearly 15 minutes. When it dives, the California sea lion's heart rate slows down so its body needs less oxygen.

Sea lions use their powerful front and rear flippers for swimming. Their large hind limbs can be turned forward so all four limbs can be used for traveling on land. A thick layer of blubber provides insulation and buoyancy in the water and protects the sea lion from sand and rocks on shore.