California Sea Lion

A California sea lion calls at Grandma's Cove at American Camp.

Lucas Pellant


These are the playful "circus seals" you see in zoos, circuses, and aquariums, that are easily trained to bark, clap their flippers, and perform stunts with beach balls and hoops. They are also notorious for seizing fish from lines and nets of fishing boats.

While at sea, they dive almost continuously, and propel themselves quickly through the water with long, paddle-like foreflippers. On land, they hump along quickly on all four rotating hind flippers.

Look for them hauled out in large groups on the sandy or rocky beaches of American Camp. They also hang out in the water in groups called rafts. The best way to identify them is their color: dark brown to black; pointed, dog-like snouts; and, on males five years and older, the large bump on the forehead called a sagittal crest. Plus, they often extend their flippers above the water's surface to regulate their body heat.

Fast Facts_california sealion

Last updated: March 1, 2015

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