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Any of five species (family Otariidae) of eared seals found along coasts on both sides of the Pacific, from Alaska to Australia. Sea lions have short, coarse hair that lacks a distinct undercoat. The males of all but the California sea lion have a mane. Sea lions feed principally on fish, squid, and octopus. They breed in large herds; males establish a harem of 3–20 females. The California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) is the trained seal of circuses and zoos. Males of the various species range from 8 to 11 ft (2.5–3.3 m) long and weigh 600–2,200 lbs (270–1,000 kg).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on sea lion, visit Britannica.com.