“TUSSLE.” A different perspective.
I took this photo on the beach at Seal Bay, on Kangaroo Island, in South Australia. Seal Bay is a conservation park run by the South Australian Government’s Department for Wildlife and Water. It is a safe nursery area, where female Australian sea lions can safely leave their young pups while they hunt.
Australian sea lions don’t live in families. The only physical relationship outside of the breeding season is between females and growing pups. Males are here all-year round and spend time play-fighting and interacting with each other. The animals on the beach are females and pups, juveniles and adult males. You can distinguish the sex and age of Australian sea lions by size and colour. Females and juveniles are lighter in color, mostly greyish with cream underbellies. When mature, they weigh up to 100 kilograms. Males become larger and darker with age. They can grow to 350 kilograms. At about six months of age, pups begin to follow their mothers to the inner reef, where they learn to forage in a sheltered environment. The pups extend their hunting range and ability as they get older, and become independent at around 17 months. When they’re two or three months old, they learn to swim in shallow waters and will venture out to sea from the age of about six to eight months. Australian sea lions learn to regulate their temperature while onshore, particularly in summer. They keep cool by occasionally splashing in shallow water. They also start to stay cool by digging a hollow into the wet sand or seeking shade under vegetation or in rock shelters. Sea lions are part of the Otariidae or ‘eared seal’ family that have small external ear flaps and use all four limbs when moving on land, where they’re as agile as in the water. (Source: Seal Bay Conservation Park).