Did You Know? Galapagos Sea Lion

galapagos sea lionThe Galapagos Sea Lion is one of two types of seals found in the Galapagos Islands; part of the eared seal family. They stay in the Galapagos Islands all year and do not migrate.

Sea lions range from 59 to 98 inches in length and weigh between 110 to 550 pounds. The male Galapagos sea lion can weigh up to four times that of a female. Adult males tend to have a thicker, stronger neck, chest, and shoulders compared to their slender abdomen. Females have a longer, more slender neck and thick torso. They all have brown or grey fur. Females are normally lighter in colour than males. The newborns are a chestnut brown. Both male and female sea lions have pointy, whiskered noses and somewhat long, narrow muzzles. 

The sea lions smooth and streamlined body shape make them proficient hunters. Sardines are their main prey. They can dive down to almost 1,900 feet and can stay underwater for over ten minutes. Galapagos sea lions sometimes travel 10 to 15 kilometers from the coast over the span of days to hunt for their prey. Galapagos sea lions are often be seen sleeping on the beaches or swimming close to shore. They are very inquisitive.

July to December is the usual mating season. The first week of birth is when the pup bonds with its mother and develops a unique call to distinguish it from the other pups. The mother will then start to hunt by day and nurse the pup in the evening. The pup will shed its baby coat by the fifth week and begins to feed inshore. Pups are dependent on their mothers until they are weaned around eleven to twelve months old.

Sharks and killer whales are the main threat but also weather. An El Niño can cause depletion of sea lions’ food source. They are also at risk from plastic pollution when they get entangled in it.

Keep an eye on Today's Woman Traveller tours to find out when we'll be setting off again to Galapagos! Hope to see you soon.  


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