GALÁPAGOS SEA LION
You won’t have to look hard to find a Galápagos sea lion. They loll around on docks, sprawl in benches, and gather en masse on rocky shorelines and sandy beaches throughout the islands. Inquisitive, playful, and acrobatic, sea lions are a Galápagos fauna frontrunner.
Galápagos sea lions aren’t just conspicuous because they’re a familiar sight; they are also the largest animals found within the archipelago with grown males (or bulls) weighing up to 550 lbs. The females are much smaller, and you’ll find them hanging out in large harems with their pups protected by a dominant male.
The sea lion hierarchy is fascinating to watch. A harem’s dominant male goes on daily patrols of the coastal waters, protecting his territory from threats and other bulls. However, patrolling really takes it out of the dominant male, and they usually only hold the position for a few days to three months. Then, bull fights break out over the territories and a new dominant bull rises to power.
Where to find Galápagos sea lions:
Bulls without harems are found in large bachelor colonies, which are usually located in less desirable locations such as rocky cliffs or lagoons further inland. Harems get the best beach spots, and visitors can find groups of baby sea lions in shallow water “nurseries” being watched over by a mother while the other women are out fishing. Pups are born during the Garúa season which runs from May to December, though the timing staggers throughout the colonies occupying different islands. If you visit during the Garúa season, odds are you’ll find Galápagos sea lion pups in various stages of development.
Snorkel with sea lions on our Galápagos Unbound Signature Tour.