Galapagos Sea Lion

Galapagos Sea Lions
Photographer: Per-Gunnar Ostby of

Galapagos Sea Lion
Photographer: Per-Gunnar Ostby of

Young Galapagos Sea Lion
Photographer: Per-Gunnar Ostby of

Galapagos Sea Lion Range Map (Galapagos Islands)
Galapagos Sea Lion Range Map
(Galapagos Islands)

Juvenile Galapagos Sea Lion Under Water
Photographer: Clark Anderson, Aquaimages

Juvenile Galapagos Sea Lions Under Water
Photographer: Clark Anderson, Aquaimages

Galapagos Sea Lions
Photographer: Clark Anderson, Aquaimages
Latin Name Zalophus wollebaeki
Conservation Status Vulnerable
Location Galapagos Islands
Colour Brown
Length 150 - 250 cms (59 - 98 inches)
Weight 50 - 400 Kgs (110 - 880 lbs)
Life Expectancy


Main Characteristics

Galapagos Sea Lions are one of the most conspicuous and numerous marine mammals on the Galapagos Islands. They have a body length between 150 and 250 cms (59 - 98 inches) and they weigh between 50 and 400 Kgs (110 - 880 lbs), males being much larger than females.

Males are coloured brown, females tend to be a lighter tan and juveniles are coloured 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.


Galapagos Sea Lions are found on the islands of the Galapagos Archipelago. 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.

Females gather in colonies of approximately 30 individuals and each colony is dominated by one bull. He will hold his territory for a short time before he is displaced by another bull. Bulls that are not dominating a colony will gather together in a bachelor group.


Galapagos Sea Lions mainly feed upon fish, squid, octopus and crustaceans.


Galapagos Sea Lions 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 11 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. The pups are attended continuously by their mothers for 6 - 7 days after they are born, then the females have to go to sea to feed themselves, returning to their pups at night.

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 old but because of the long breeding season and the length of time pups are cared for by their mothers, there are dependent pups on the rookeries all year round.


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


Galapagos Sea Lions have no subspecies

Interesting Facts

Galapagos Sea Lions are also known as:
Pagos Sea Lion

Similar Animals

New Zealand Sea Lion
South American Sea Lion
Steller Sea Lion
Japanese Sea Lion
California Sea Lion
Australian Sea Lion


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