California Sea Lions

You’ll know you’re getting close to the sea lions in our care by the energy in the air. Sea lions are extremely social — and vocal! They often cluster in large groups of tens to hundreds of sea lions when hauled out on shorelines, piers, or jetties. In water, they form smaller groups called “rafts.” Their long front flippers are perfectly suited for swimming. On land, sea lions tuck their hind flippers beneath their body and use all four flippers to “walk” around.

Sea lions and seals are often confused, but here’s a clue you won’t forget. Sea lions have visible ear flaps — seals have only holes. Listen to the chorus of sea lion calls sea lion and you’ll easily remember it’s the ears that set them apart.

Be sure to check out our sea lion stars in “Sea Lions LIVE.”

Visit Pacific Point to experience sea lions up-close, and even take the opportunity to feed them.

The SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team frequently rescues stranded sea lions from local beaches. Learn how we care for them and prepare them for their return to the sea on our Behind-the-Scenes guided tour.

Q: Where do they live?
SW: California sea lions aren’t just found in California! They live all along the Pacific coast of North America, from southern British Columbia to central Mexico and into the Gulf of California, Mexico.

Q: What do they eat?
SW: A variety of fishes, squids and octopuses.

Q: How big do they get?
SW: Grown males reach lengths of 6.5 to 8 feet, while females are 5 to 6.5 feet in length.

Diamond is a female California sea lion. Diamond prides herself on being the loudest sea lion at SeaWorld San Diego. People come from miles away just to hear her “foghorn”. Diamond’s hobbies include waving at guests and keepers and “flying” (flapping both flippers while lying down). You’ll often find Diamond hanging out on the big rock on the east side of the habitat—being her sweet, curious self. And shining like a diamond.