If the iguanas and lizards are the stoic characters in the story of the Galapagos, and the boobies are the clowns, the sea lions are definitely the dudes. Let me explain.
The Galápagos sea lion is a very large mammal, with adult males weighing about 900 pounds and adult females about 244 pounds. They have long pointy noses, small ear flaps and their flippers, as opposed to seals are very flexible, allowing the sea lions to walk easily on land.
They are very social animals, living together in large colonies on sandy beaches. Males are highly territorial, particularly during the mating season. The alpha male keeps a harem of females and will guard them against potential rivals.
You might think that so far I am not making a very strong case for dudedom, but let me continue. Sea lions are very inquisitive and very playful and will even “body-surf” ocean waves. They often like to join snorkelers and divers for a swim. Young males hang in “bachelor” groups.
Getter closer to the dude definition?
The key is the attitude. Except during mating season when males bicker and fight for territory and females, the sea lion is majorly laid back. Lazing on the beach, or across the lava rocks or even on an abandoned boat, the sea lions have perfected the art of hanging out.
When they stretch or change position you can really see the ‘tude:
And this is the kicker – they give you high fives.
The last pic is from the internet – unfortunately with no credit – but it is so amazingly cute I had to include it.
Of course scientists will tell you that this high-fiving is simply thermoregulation, as sea lions have the ability to regulate their own body temperatures. By raising their flipper out of the water, for example, the air cools the sea lion as the water evaporates. Similarly, they can warm themselves by catching the suns rays on the sand.
I’m not buying it. If that was the case, why did this sea lion not pick up his flipper UNTIL Lenore and Alfredo kayaked next to him?
I rest my case.