Lost California Sea Lion

I recently found a lost-looking sea lion.  Maybe he’s a runaway, tired of the crowded scene on marine floats down in California,

perhaps he’s an explorer searching for a “wilder” place to live, maybe he’s AWOL from the Navy Marine Mammal program, but whatever the reason, he certainly sticks out in the crowd up here.  Can you spot him among our resident Steller Sea Lions? (answer is at the bottom of post)


Though the ranges of Steller and California sea lions do overlap, Stellers’ prefer the colder, temperate to sub-arctic waters of the North Pacific Ocean, where as California sea lions primarily breed in the southern waters of California to central Mexico.  The northern range for the California is usually as far as the southern portions of Vancouver Island during non-breeding seasons.  I have only seen 3 other California lions in all the years living here in the Broughton Archipelago, so to find a male, so close to the breeding season way up here, is surely a mystery.


How to Distinquish a California Sea Lion from a Steller:

Adult Stellers are tan to reddish brown in color vs the darker brown to black when wet of the California

Adult male Stellers have a “mane” of thick fur around their neck and are 3X as big as an adult California.  Females are 4X as big.

Stellers have a low forehead, their Latin name, Eumetopia jubatus, roughly translates to “maned one with the broad forehead”.  Male California sea lions have a very distinct, high forehead, from a bump of bone called the sagittal crest and as they age, their head becomes paler in color.


For more distinguishing features visit NOAA

Did you spot the CA?

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