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Mammals ID in California (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Hi everybody,

I'm having some trouble IDing these mammals seen in California. I would appreciate any help!

1 - Los Angeles, jan/12. Guess it's a Sciurus squirrel, but which one?

2 - San Simeon, jan/12. California ground squirrel?

3 - Rancho Palos Verdes, jan/14. Don't know if it's possible to ID, but my best guess would be California sea lion.

4 - Rancho Palos Verdes, jan/14. This dolphin and the whale below I seriously doubt are IDable, but there's no harm in trying. There were a bunch of them swimming close to the coast. Maybe bottlenose?

5 - Rancho Palos Verdes, jan/14. Pic was taken from land, so it wasn't swimming too far off coast. I'd guess gray whale, but it's a wild shot.


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Mike Richardson

Formerly known as Skink1978
1. I would say Western Grey Squirrel (Sciurus griseus). Only other possibility is Eastern Grey which has been introduced to some western cities. However, the tail is pepper-grey and is not edged in white.

2. California Ground Squirrel.
3. California Sea Lion.
4. Probably best waiting for a cetacean expert on this one! I'm not sure if I'd rules out any of the Common Dolphins from this one photo. Any more pictures?
5. Looks good for Grey Whale.


Well-known member
Hey Mike, thanks a lot for the help!

I'm posting some more pictures of the dolphins, though I'm not sure they'll be too helpful. I just noticed this forum is intended for land based mammals strictly, should I/is it possible to move this thread to "Cetaceans & Marine Life"?

Also posting another pic of the #1 squirrel.

Thanks again!


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Well-known member
Your pictures don't make this easy, but on the new ones I'm getting pilot whale vibes.

What did you actually see? Did they come closer to the vessel, allowing you to observe them under water?


Mike Richardson

Formerly known as Skink1978
I would say Bottle-nosed for the dolphin (we can safely rule out Common and a number of other possible species) and I'm still happy that the squirrel is Western Grey.


Well-known member
Thanks for the replies guys!

Andrea, I thought I had mentioned that (sorry), but all pics were made from land; a high cliff in this case, so I could hardly see a thing underwater. Some of the pics, though, seem to show sillouettes of the dolphins (like #3 from the 2nd batch). I'm terrible with scale, but the photos were made with a 50x zoom point-and-shoot, so the dolphins couldn't be farther than 100m from coast.


Well-known member
Sorry, John, I didn't go back to your first post when you posted more pictures, and had forgotten how they had been taken.

I'm certainly happy to bow to the emerging consensus.



Well-known member
United States
Yep...Pacific Bottle-nosed Dolphin. Having lived in California for several years, really only this species and Pacific White-sided I readily viewable from shore.


Well-known member
Actually their is a growing population of Harbour Porpoises that live in and just outside the San Francisco Bay, from under the Golden Gate Bridge you can watch them sometimes.|:d|


Well-known member
United States
Yep..seen those guys, but not sure if there is anywhere else in California they are readily viewable, and Central California is about as far south as they get on the Pacific Coast

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