Neophoca cinerea (sin'-eray'-ah: "ash-coloured new-seal")
The Australian Sea-lion inhabits mostly the Western Australian and South Australian coasts and forms breeding colonies on the rocky shores. Males are distinguished by a cape of pale hair on the back of the head and shoulders.
The Sea-lions diet comprises mainly of cuttlefish and squid but fish, crayfish and penguins also become prey to the sea lions.
Younger Sea-lion pups are glossy black in colour until they first moult, they are often seen sprawled together on the sandy beaches, using each other as pillows, waiting for their mothers to return from foraging trips to nurse them.
Female sea lions gather in larger numbers on their popular pupping sites to give birth. These areas are usually well protected, rocky patches of sandy beaches. Soon after giving birth to their pups, females come into oestrus and the male sea-lions start to arrive to mate. The younger bulls arrive first in an attempt to gain a territory before the more mature, heavier bulls arrive. A fully matured sea-lion bull can weigh as much as 300kg.
Once the mature bulls arrive they stake out their territory around groups of cows and defend it fiercely against any rivals. Huge threats and gigantic battles are common during the mating season. During confrontation bull rear up, open mouthed displaying their sharp teeth, snapping, slapping and roaring as they chase of rival bulls.
The breeding season is especially dangerous for new born pubs as many are caught between the fighting bulls and are usually salvaged or trampled to death. Outside the breeding season bull bask placidly on the sandy beaches.
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