Their front two flippers are long, while the rear two are shorter. All four flippers are extremely powerful, enabling the sea lion to swim at great speeds as well as to be able to walk on land. The front flippers are even able to pick objects up so that the inquisitive sea lion can examine these items. Sea lions can weigh anything between a few hundred kilograms and a ton, depending on their species, age and gender. A layer of blubber insulates the body and, therefore, its thickness depends on the habitat. The colder the local climate, the thicker the blubber needs to be. The more blubber required, the more the animal needs to eat in order to build and maintain it.
Their whiskers are an integral part of their negotiation of the water and finding prey. Each whisker has a nerve ending, making it very sensitive to touch.
Sexual maturity is reached at about three years of age in males (although formal mating will only begin at around eight years old, when they are strong enough to compete against other males for the female’s attention) and four years in females. She will discern the strongest male and allow him to mate with her so that their young are given a fighting chance of survival. Males frequently have a harem of about 10 to 15 females with which he mates. The male sea lion has to protect these females as well as their young.