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California sea lion

Zalophus californianus

Description:

California sea lion males grow to 360 kg (850 lbs) and 2.4 meters (8 ft) long, while females are significantly smaller, at 100 kg (220 lbs) and 2 meters (6.5 ft) long. They have pointed muzzles, making them rather dog-like. Males grow a large crest of bone on the top of their heads as they reach sexual maturity, and this gives the animal its generic name (loph is "forehead" and za- is an emphatic; Zalophus californianus means "Californian big-head"). They also have manes, although they are not as well developed as the manes of adult male South American or Steller sea lions. Females are lighter in color than the males, and pups are born dark, but lighten when they are several months old. When it is dry, the skin is a purple color. A sea lion's average lifespan is 17 years in the wild, and longer in captivity. By sealing their noses shut, they are able to stay underwater for up to 20 minutes.

Habitat:

Coastal areas with sandy beaches for breeding

Notes:

Dorsey and Briney are a sea lion pair that have been together at Tulsa Zoo & Living Museum for a number of years. They are enjoying their new $5.5 million exhibit, which officially opens to the public on March 17, 2012.

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Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

Lat: 36.15, Long: -95.99

Spotted on Mar 9, 2012
Submitted on Mar 10, 2012

Spotted for mission

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