Galapagos Island Animals

galapagos island animals

These Galapagos Island animals "Sea lions" and "Fur sea lions" have some basic differences.

The two pinniped species that inhabit this Archipelago are the Galapagos Sea Lions and the Galapagos Fur Sea Lions.


While the two are resident species, both came from opposite origins; northern and southern latitudes, respectively.

While the two species inhabit the shores of these volcanic islands, both have striking differences. These are mostly behavioral and physical.

Galapagos tours from well known travel companies will visit several Galapagos Sites that will offer you incredible encounters with colonies of both species.

Find Cheap Airline Tickets to the Galapagos Islands here

The most common of these animals in Galapagos will be the Galapagos Sea Lion, but as you explore coastlines, looking into crevices, lava tubes, and irregular cuts, you will be able to find the other species.

The Galapagos Fur Sea Lion (incorrectly called fur seal, as there are no true seals in Galapagos) is an endemic species to the Islands, and prefers rocky coastlines. Beaches are usually not part of their regular living habitat.

Galapagos Sea Lion

galapagos sea lions

Galapagos Sea Lions, on the other hand, live in both types of habitat. Fur sea lions carry a heavy coat; an outer layer of fur, and an under fur.

With all that heavy coat, would you consider a beach for resting? Probably not.

Thus, fur sea lions prefer areas with lots of shade, and with easy exposure to sea access.

See Beautiful Pictures of Galapagos Islands here

At times, both species of these Galapagos animals are seen within the same area, and they even play aqua-aerobics, but of course do not interbreed. There are many pre-mating isolating barriers that prevent interbreeding.

Differences Between these Galapagos Island Animals:


  • Inhabit beaches and rocky shorelines
  • Feed mostly during day time hours
  • Rather pointed snout
  • Shorter external ear lobes (comparatively)
  • Thinner fur coating
  • Mating mostly in shallow or deep water
  • Sound: mostly growling and barking
  • Population: around 40,000 individuals


  • Inhabit just rocky shorelines
  • Feed mostly during night time hours
  • Rather blunt snout
  • Longer external ear lobes (comparatively)
  • Thicker fur coating
  • Mating mostly on land
  • Sound: mostly growling
  • Population: around 20,000 individuals

Recommended Reading

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides). Click to order from Amazon

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides)

With 250 photos and tons of great information, this is an essential addition to your pre-Ecuador and -Galapagos reading!

There are better guides if you are only interested in the islands, but for a combination trip taking in Ecuador as well, it's hard to beat.


Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands. Click to order from Amazon

Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands

Small enough to fit into your pocket, yet containing comprehensive information and pictures of all the species you will encounter in the islands, this book is a must-have for nature lovers.

Let's face it, Galapagos is largely about the wildlife. This book will NOT disappoint, and you'll have a great memento of your time with the seals, penguins and tortoises!


Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World. Click to order from Amazon

Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World

Definitely NOT a tourist's guide, but if you're like me, and find the history and geography of the islands irresistible, then this is a title you ought to invest in.

Stunningly illustrated, and painstakingly researched, those of you who have been there will be enchanted again -- and those of you who have not will begin planning your trip!


Moon Spotlight Galapagos. Click to order from Amazon

Moon Spotlight Galapagos Islands

If you're a seasoned Galapagos regular, then you will probably prefer something weightier.

But for first-timers looking for simple, down-to-earth advice on where to go, what to see and the best shopping and eating on the islands, this is the book for you.

Small, well-priced, and reliable!


Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire. Click to order from Amazon

Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire

The 10th anniversary edition of this photographer's tour of the Galapagos Islands is a stunning book, worthy of anybody's coffee table.

This is a perfect post-trip talking point -- a great way to remember what you've seen, and spread the word amongst your envious friends!


More Galapagos Island Animals:

Galapagos Penguins

Galapagos Giant Tortoises

Galapagos Birds

Galapagos Finches

If you have questions about the Galapagos Island animals, You can post them on our Galapagos FAQ Page and if you'd like to request more information about our recommended Galapagos Island Cruise to explore this Archipelago, You can Contact us here

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