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Galapagos Sea Lion

Zalophus wollebaeki

The Galapagos sea lion is like a special island cousin of the California sea lion, and you won’t find them anywhere else but the unique Galapagos Islands. 

They’re pretty big creatures, stretching up to about 8.2 feet long and weighing as much as 595 pounds, which is heavier than most motorcycles! They have a robust, barrel-like shape and a snout that’s short and pointy.

Their fur is quite the fashion statement, varying from a dark, chocolatey brown to a sandy, light tan. And the males? They really stand out with their thick, bushy manes around their necks, kind of like the kings of the sea lion world. These manes make them look even more majestic, especially when they’re lounging around on the sunny shores of the Galapagos.

Galapagos sea lions love the scenic rocky shores and sandy beaches of the Galapagos Islands, making these beautiful spots their home. They’re not just sticking to the main islands, either; they also spread out to the smaller offshore islands and islets. 

These quieter, more secluded spots are great because they’re away from busy human activities, giving the sea lions a peaceful place to live, play, and raise their families. 

What do Galapagos sea lions eat? They aren’t too picky when it comes to their meals—they’ll happily munch on whatever the ocean offers up. 

Most of the time, they feast on fish and squid, diving and darting through the water to catch their food. But every now and then, they might treat themselves to something a bit different, like a tasty octopus or some crunchy crustaceans.

Galapagos sea lions are social animals and can often be found basking in large groups on the beaches. 

When they’re not chilling on the beach, they’re like playful puppies of the sea, splashing around, swimming, and having a great time together in the water.

They are also known to be quite vocal, making a variety of vocalizations including barks, growls, and whistles.  It’s their way of talking to each other, whether they’re saying hello, warning about danger, or just having a fun sea lion conversation.

The Galapagos sea lion, Zalophus wollebaeki, holds a special spot in nature’s storybook. It’s one of the four types of California sea lions, sharing the family tree with the Guadalupe sea lion, the now-extinct Japanese sea lion, and the well-known mainland California sea lion.

Are Galapagos sea lions endangered? The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has the Galapagos sea lion marked as “vulnerable.” That means they’ve had a bit of a rough time, facing challenges like hunting and losing their homes, which made their numbers go down. But there’s a silver lining! 

Thanks to people recognizing their troubles and working to help them, including setting up protected areas and laws to keep them safe, the Galapagos sea lions are starting to make a comeback, slowly but surely finding their way back to a brighter future.
Galapagos Sea Lion Clickable
By Casey Klebba - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
"Galapagos Sea Lion's Baby Portrait" by A.Davey is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit
"Galapagos Islands - sea lion mother and pup (2)" by Derek Keats is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit