California Sea Lion sub species.     Zalophus californians wollebacki

Galápagos sea Lion  (Otariidae)      Arctocephus galapagoensis 

Distribution: Galápagos Islands.

Habitat: They spend a lot of their time swimming in the ocean but while on land they prefer sandy beaches and flat rocky areas that have plenty of shade and tidal pools. While at sea they will rarely venture further than 16 Kms (10 miles) from the coast.

Appearance: Descriptions will be for A. galapagoensis which are similar to Z. californians wollebacki  except the are smaller by about 100 pounds as adults.  Males are colored brown, females tend to be a lighter tan and juveniles are colored chestnut brown. Their bodies are streamline and they have well developed fore flippers which they use to propel themselves through the water. They can control their hind flippers independently which enables them to move around more effectively on land.  When males reach puberty they begin to develop a raised forehead and sometimes their hair is lighter coloured on their crest.  Length 150 – 250 cms (59 – 98 inches).  Weight 50 – 400 Kgs (110 – 880 lbs)

Diet: Fish, squid, octopus and crustaceans.

Predators: The main predators of Galapagos Sea Lions are sharks and killer whales. Dogs are also known to prey upon pups.

Reproduction: Breed between May and January and mating usually occurs in the water. Males hold their territories for 10 days – 3 months and during this time they aggressively defend it.   After a gestation period of approximately 9 months, females give birth to 1 pup. When the pups are born they weigh approximately 6 Kgs (13.2 lbs) and they are approximately 75 cms (29.5 inches) long.  When the pups reach 1 – 2 weeks old they will venture into the water and start to learn how to swim. They are weaned when they reach 11 – 12 months.

Remarks;  Galápagos Sea Lions are inquisitive and playful yet aggressive at times.  They are attractive and endearing but also lazy as they lie on beaches replenishing their oxygen.  They may be seen body surfing the waves and always seem to be playing with something including each other, iguanas, penguins, crabs or just a piece of seaweed.