Australian sea lion
This non-migratory species spends a lot of time on the beach. It moves relatively easily on the land, and may travel for a few kilometres on its flippers.
Their life expectancy is just 12 years.
Body length: Males (bulls): 2-2.5m, Females (cows): 1.3-1.8m. Weight: Males: 250-300 kg, Females: 61-104 kg.
Males and females vary in colour as well as in size. Pups are born with silvery grey or fawn fur, which females retain into maturity, whereas males become dark brown as they mature. Males have thick skin and fur around their necks.
These sea lions are found only on mainland Australia and offshore islands
Australian sea lions prefer sandy beaches or smooth rocks as breeding or haul-out sites.
Australian sea lions feed on fish, octopus and lobsters.
They are very social animals and gather in large groups, particularly during the breeding season. Males come ashore and battle for territories, before the females come ashore 2-3 weeks later. Males may keep harems of around 4-6 females.
They are hunted by sharks, particularly great white sharks.
Australian sea lions mate on land. Gestation lasts for about 18 months, including a 5-6 month period of delayed implantation. They only breed every 17.5 months, and this unseasonal breeding is unusual as all other seals and sea lions breed on a seasonal basis. Males may only breed for 2-3 seasons.
Females nurse their young for 15-18 months and there is a high level of pup mortality due to aggression from both adult males and females on the beaches.
Australian sea lions are considered rare under South Australian legislation where they have received full legal protection since 1964. There are presently only 3,000-5,000 Australian sea lions in existence and they are thought to be one of the rarest pinnipeds. They are not classified by the 2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.