South American/Patagonian Sea Lion

ANIMAL:
South American/Patagonian Sea Lion Otaria flavescens

Type of Animal:
Eared Seal

Habitat:
Coastal areas, offshore islands, beaches, urban areas near saltwater, shorelines, tidepools, flat rocky shelves/cliffs

Location(s):
Coasts of Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, & Tierra Del Fuego along with Falklands

Appearance:
Bulls have distinctive mane & much larger than females, both sexes have brownish color, pups darker than adults, females have lighter fur than bulls.

Food/Diet:
Squid, crabs, octopus, herring, rockfish, mackerel, clams, lobsters, small sharks, sponges, gastropods, tunicates, marine worms, hake, anchovies, penguins, seabirds. Bulls sometimes feed on fur seal pups.

Status in Wild:
Stable

Conservation:
Breeding in zoos, aquariums, & marine parks

Lifestyle:
For most of year, found in loose groups of 15-40 animals. During breeding season, bulls fight for territories & harems of up to 15 females. Many harems form large rookeries. Sometimes, gangs of bachelor bulls raid harems, killing pups in process. Bachelor bulls found in groups on fringes.

Additional Info:

Called:
Male-Bull
Female-Cow
Young-Pup
Group-Colony

Weight:
Male-440-770 lbs
Female-330 lbs
Young-50 lbs

Gestation:
11.75 months

Height:
Male-6.5-8.2 ft
Female-6.5 ft

Body Length:
Male-8.5 ft
Female-5.9-6.56 ft
Young-2.6 ft

Life Span: 
16-20 years in wild, up to 30 years in captivity

Main predators are orcas, sharks, & pumas.

Fights between bulls have some biting at each other but are not extremely violent.

Bulls sexually mature at 5 years, females at 4 years.

Pups start swimming at 1.5 months.

They’re often noted for their barking sound.

Sometimes killed by fishermen for destroying nets 7 eating up fisherman’s catch.

Fun Fact(s):
Age can be determined by number of rings in canine teeth, like rings of a tree.

Worshipped by Moche people of Ancient Peru in art & culture.

Pretty friendly animals, though bulls defending harems can be somewhat aggressive.

In native range, known as “leon marino”(sea lion) or “lobo marino”(sea wolf).

A statue of this species is symbol of Argentine city of Mar del Plata.

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