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California Sea Lion

Zalophus californianus


California sea lion males may grow to 2.4 meters (8.5 feet) in length and weigh up to 385 kg (850 pounds). Females are considerably smaller. Males tend to be darker and females lighter colored. Mature males have a ruff of fur around their necks.


Oceans and ocean coasts along North American coastlines from the Alaska panhandle to Mexico.


These photos were taken at Seal Cave on the Oregon coast. The seals use the cave mouth to access the cave from the ocean; people access the cave by elevator and a tunnel. (The cave is privately owned.) Touted as being the largest sea cave in the world, the sea lions haul out inside the cave. We were amazed by how high into the rocky walls of the sea cave the sea lions would lumber. Fascinating place. And an adventure too as the elevator broke leaving us the only options of waiting for the elevator repairman to arrive (this was on Easter Sunday!) or to climb up the 200 foot spiral staircase that serviced the elevator shaft. It was a dark and dirty climb with bad lighting. We emerged into the light of day with muddied clothes. The owners were, of course, chagrined and offered our admittance fee back along with a soft drink and a snack. It was quite the climb! This is, however, an unearthly place and fascinating experience. I would highly recommend it if you get into this area.

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Gordon Dietzman
Spotted by
Gordon Dietzman

Oregon, USA

Spotted on Apr 12, 2009
Submitted on Dec 13, 2011

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