You can’t miss them! The sea lions are everywhere, just like wild dogs in Central and South America
We do like the sea lions better than the dogs, because they don’t bark and are more friendly . Most of our pictures are from Playa Mann on San Christobal.
The Galapagos sea lion is a species that primarily breeds in the Galapagos Islands, although some breeding colonies also occur on Isla de la Plata just off of mainland Ecuador. The Galapagos sea lions are slightly smaller than their Californian relatives, Galápagos sea lions range from 150 to 250 cm (59 to 98 in) in length and weigh between 50 to 250 kg (110 to 550 lb), with the males averaging larger than females. There is a large degree of sexual dimorphism, with males weighing up to four times that of females (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gal%C3%A1pagos_sea_lion).
Here on San Christobal they are everywhere – we love it, and it make Galapagos so special to us
They are not ‘true’ seals, as they are able to rotate their hind flipper under their pelvic girdle and lack the characteristic long, finger-like claws of true seals. The configuration of their pelvic girdle allows them to ‘gallop’ across land, reaching speeds exceeding that of a running person on rocky terrain (Source: http://galapagosconservation.org.uk/wildlife/galapagos-sea-lion/). Looks funny but are actually pretty fast.
They can dive to depths of up to 350 meters and can stay underwater for 10 minutes. They spend a lot of their time resting on beaches or playing, and are generally inquisitive.
It is amazing how they just blend in with the locals
There is a rule in the Galapagos National Park to keep a distance of 2 meters to all animals, but it can be ready difficult when the sea lions gets curious. First the baby sea lion just looked at Esben, but it just had to get a little bit closer. It was amazing of us just to sit on the beach together with the sea lions, and one of the sea lions got so close that it walk across my feet in the sand. It is also important to respect the animals, especially the males, that will let you know if you get to close or if they want you to move (they can bite).
We visited in the mating season, that usually occurs between July and December, but can differ from island to island. The mothers will take the young pups with them into the water while nursing until around the 11th month, when the pups are weaned from their mother’s milk and become dependent on their own hunting skill.
This pup had just been born
The pups immediately start to consume milk from their mother’s body. This milk contains more than 50% of nutrients which helps them to grow at a very fast rate. This is also responsible for helping the young Sea Lions to develop the layers of fat called blubber that they need to stay warm (Source: http://www.sealion-world.com/sea-lion-reproduction/).
Can you stand more pictures of the sea lions? We enjoyed them everyday on San Christobal