Each colony, or harem, is composed of a
dominant bull and from a few to thirty cows with their young.
Though usually referred to as harems, sea lion colonies are not
true harems because females are free to wander from one
territory to another. The male as harem is really only a piece
of land on which females prefer to lie.
The dominant bull has a
stretch of coastline that he jealously defends against all other
adult males. He spends much of his day swimming from one border
of his territory to the other. While patrolling his territory he
frequently rears his head out of the water to utter a series of
barks. These barks are also made underwater and indicate his
Galapagos sea lions do not migrate, remaining around the
islands all year and feeding at shallow depths, mainly for
On land this sea lion prefers sandy or rocky flat beaches
where there is vegetation for shade, tide pools to keep cool and
good access to calm waters.
It also spends much of its time in
the cool, fish-rich waters that surround the Galapagos Islands.
Galapagos Sea Lions are
especially vulnerable to human activity. Their inquisitive and
social nature makes them more likely to approach areas inhabited
by humans, to come in contact with human waste and with fishing
nets and hooks. Sea Lions can be seen all over the islands. Snorkeling and kayaking with the playful
pups is often the highlight of a visit to the Galapagos.