California sea lion (Zalophus californianus)

California sea lions are members of the “eared seal” family Otariidae. These pinnipeds live along the rock Pacific Ocean coastlines of western North America. They are very social animals and form groups of several hundred individuals onshore.

California sea lions are the most recognized pinniped species because they are commonly seen doing acrobatic tricks in shows at zoos and aquariums. While they are known for their intelligence and playfulness, these animals also quite athletic. In the wild, the California sea lion is faster than any other sea lion or seal topping out at speeds of 25 miles an hour. This animal is also an avid diver. When diving deep, California sea lions slow their heart rates to allow them to remain underwater for nearly ten minutes before surfacing to breathe. This ability gives them an edge in the pursuit of the fish, squid, and shellfish that make up their primary diet.

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