The Wild Australian Sea Lions of Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island is a wildlife lover’s dream. Made up of picturesque beaches, sprawling ocean views, and lush rainforest, the island is home to an abundance of native species that roam wild and free in their natural habitat.

Explore the island, and you might get to see kangaroos, wallabies, and koalas as they go about their daily lives, but perhaps the highlight for many visitors is seeing the colonies of wild Australian Sea Lions that call the island home.

Kangaroo Island

Visiting Seal Bay and Its Inhabitants

Seal Bay is one of the most popular parts of the island, and arguably no visit to Kangaroo Island is complete without a trip to this stretch of coastline. It has been voted one of the top ten tourist destinations in South Australia and promises the opportunity to see these mesmerising creatures as they bask, frolic, and relax on the surrounding sand and rocks.

The most prominent inhabitants of Seal Bay are a colony of Australian sea lions who have lived on this stretch of coastline for thousands and thousands of years. Because of this, it offers one of the most exceptional and memorable wildlife experiences in the world.

There are no enclosures or cages at Seal Bay. Instead, the animals are free to do as they please, giving visitors the chance to venture right into the heart of the colony and watch them from close up. Experienced guides are on hand to tell visitors about the unique behaviour and history of the sea lions, and offer insights into the endangered species’ feeding habits and lifestyle.

Alternatively, there is a boardwalk that weaves its way through the stunning sand dunes to a number of viewing platforms that offer incredible views of the sea lions and the backdrop of the ocean.

The surroundings are beautiful, too, with jaw-dropping views of the unique coastline, relatively untouched dune systems that hark back thousands of years, and pretty beaches that seem to sprawl out forever.

Seal Bay

About the Sea Lions of Seal Bay

This species of sea lion is unique to South and Western Australia and there are around 14,700 of the creatures in this part of the country, making it the third largest colony of Australian sea lions. Seal Bay is one of the only places on the entire planet where you can get up close and personal with these creatures, watching the sea lion pups play and the adults fight and frolic.

Their Appearance

The Australian Sea Lion have round, stocky bodies, with narrow flippers and a large head. The colour and size of the sea lion is determined by their gender, with males being larger, with dark brown fur and yellow patches along the mane. Whereas females are smaller, and sliver grey in colour, with a cream colour in the underbelly. When sea lions are merely pups, they are rich chocolate colour with a thick layer of fur which they eventually moult when they are fully grown. They are known as the ‘dogs of the sea’, mainly to do with their blunt dog-like snout, and playful attitude.

Sea Lion

Their Feeding

The Australian Sea Lion’s home base being situated right offshore the ocean is no coincident. As the sea is the main source of the sea lion’s food. With a diet mainly consisting of fish and marine invertebrates, the sea lions swim out to the deep blue daily to feed on the marine life. Usually only travelling locally, with an estimate of up to 300 metres. Males can eat up to 18 kilograms of fish every day, whereas females eat only 11 kilograms.

Their Breeding Behaviours

The breeding season lasts about five months, occurring every 17.5 months. Males are first to arrive in the breeding regions, coming 2-3 weeks before the females to establish a ground to defend. The colonies will create loose associations within the large groups, typically 4-6 females, with males guarding and then mating with individual females in turn. Due to the long breeding period, males find it quite difficult to protect their territory, having to spend up to four weeks ashore at a time to monitor their females. Males can be very aggressive towards each other and only breed 2 to 3 times in their life. For females, they can breed once every 2 to 3 years of their adult life but will only breed on the site they are born. The birth of pups is not the same at each site, being anywhere between January to June after a gestation period of about 12 months. Females only produce one pup at a time, which takes around 4-6 months to become mature.

Their Lifestyle

Sea lions are active swimmers, being in the perfect streamline shape to whiz through the water without any trouble. However, outside the water, they are usually quite lazy. Slowly rolling around the sand, and sunbaking in the sun. This makes seeing the sea lions on land relatively easy, as they simply snooze away along the sand shore or large rocks while you wander nearby.

Check out the Kangaroo Island Tour today.

Language »