Alaska Species Explorer


Steller Sea Lion

Common Name: Steller Sea Lion
Scientific Name: Eumetopias jubatus

Steller sea lions are distributed mainly around the coasts to the outer continental shelf along the North Pacific Ocean rim from northern Hokkaiddo, Japan through the Kuril Islands and Okhotsk Sea, Aleutian Islands and central Bering Sea, southern coast of Alaska and south to California.

Conservation Status:

Two stocks are recognized, an Eastern Stock and a Western Stock; both stocks were listed as Threatened Species in 1990.  The Eastern stock was delisted in December 2013, while the Western Stock is currently listed as Endangered.

Average Length: Males: 9ft, Females 7ft
Average Weight: Males: 1500lbs, Females 500-600lbs
Diet in the Wild:

Salmon, rockfishes, squid, octopus, walleye pollock, herring, atka mackerel, pacific cod, flatfishes (e.g. halibut), sculpins.

Reproduction Period:

Nine months with a 3-month embryonic diapause; this allows for birthing at the same time every year.


When not in the cool waters of the North Pacific they gather on rocky shorelines and islands that are either haulouts or rookeries.  Haulouts are resting areas and rookeries are birthing and breeding areas.

Life History:

Become sexually mature at 3-7 years.  Males generally aren’t large enough to defend a territory until they are 7 years old.  They arrive at rookeries in May and can stake out territories for up to 60 days before returning to the water to forage.  Females arrive after the males to pup and shortly thereafter breed.  The life span in the wild is 10-15 years for the males and 20-25 for the females.  Males' lives are shorter due to the aggressive nature of defending a territory.

Threats in the Wild: Humans, sharks, and killer whales
Did you know?:
  • Approximately 70% of the population lives in Alaska.
  • They can travel up to 250 miles to find food.