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Description & Reproduction

Australian Sea Lions Project

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Description

Male sea lions grow to twice the size of females. They can grow up to 200-250cm long and can weigh 250-300kg. They have dark brown fur with long, yellow course hairs grown on the top of the head and around the neck, almost like a mane.

Females have a silvery grey to fawn colour on the back, with a creamy yellow colour on the belly. They grow to 130-180cm long and weigh between 70 to 100kg.

When born, pups are chocolate brown and after their first moulting phase their fur is the same colour as the females except with a pale fawn crown on their heads. They weigh 6.7-7.9 kg and are 62-68cm long.

Sea Lion's Skeleton

Reproduction

Breeding is not an annual event, which means that sea lion colonies breed at different times in the year, not together as a group. The gestation period is 14 months. One pup is born per female and the female may not breed again for 2-3 years.

Mature males fight over a female. Males become aggressive and territorial, defending their harem of females from other males.

When the pups are born, their mothers nurse them passionately for around a year. 

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by Natalie Clark