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Sea lions in numbers in Peninsula Valdes

Sea lions (otaria flavescens) are marine mammals that have characteristics common to other mammals, as basic as suckling their young or breathing air. But also like each species, it has particular characteristics, in its physiology and in its behavior. It has a varied life cycle, within the different seasons of the year. In December the males form harems of 2 to 12 females, in the breeding colonies. Between January and February, the young are born, one per female and 6 days after the birth the female enter heat.

Sea lions colony of Punta Loma

Sea lions colony of Punta Loma Near Puerto Madryn

  • Between March and May, the puppies continue to lactate and those who came to reproduce at Punta Pirámide or another reproductive colony, return to their respective annual colonies Punta Alt, Punta Loma, Punta Ameghino or Las Charas among others, within the Golfo Nuevo.
  • From May to November, the females continue to nurse their young and do not form harems.
    They are good at holding their breath, these animals withstand high pressures, dives have been recorded 490 ft ( 150 m ) deep and can be around 7 minutes without breathing.
  • From December to March the sea lions suitable for reproduction come together in reproduction colonies, young sea lions do not move from their stable colony.

Sea lion male alone in Punta Piramide colony

Sea Lions in Weight and Size

  • The male weighs 660 lb ( 300 kg ) and the length is 7.5 ft ( 2.3 m )
  • The female weighs 220 lb ( 100 kg ) and measures 6 ft ( 1.8 m )
  • The calf weighs 26.5 lb ( 12 kg ) and measures 2.6 ft ( 80 cm )

The weight is relatively low compared to the seal elephant, the male weighs 8 times more than a male sea lion and is 2 times longer. The average life span of sea lions ranges between 15 and 18 years. They eat mainly fish, octopus, squid. The male has the neck covered by a mane and they are darker than the females.

Snorkel with sea lions in Punta Loma

Snorkel with sea lions in Punta Loma Reserve Puerto Madryn

For about 20 years, dive operators have been authorized to offer dive with sea lions in some colonies of sea lions and in some sectors, the excursion is so safe that you do not need to know how to swim to do it. Dressed in neoprene suits there is no way to sink.

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