The Galapagos Islands are home to some of the world's most diverse and fascinating creatures. The seal lions that line many of the shores and beaches are as interesting and entertaining as any of them. These large, playful creatures are seemingly everywhere and they laze in the sun or in the shade in some very funny places.
This male bull had claimed a park bench near the shore at a public beach. Although he's chubby and endearing, he's 300 pounds of solid animal with a head as big as a large dog. His teeth are equally formidable and other sea lions, as well as people will let him have this bench as long as he wants it.
A tourist with a camera caught sight of this amusing fellow and wandered close enough to get some video. He kept a respectful distance away but the sea lion watches him warily as he slowly walks closer. But it seems obvious that the sea lion isn't too worried and he quickly goes back to looking bored. And then, with what appears to be mild disapproval, he sneezes at the camera man, raining sea lion nasal discharge on the ground between the two. The sea lion then completely loses interest and goes back to getting comfortable on the bench.
Sea lions are social animals that exist in colonies of several dozen animals. One male will defend his territory and his breeding rights with numerous females. While they are out hunting in the ocean, he will sometimes keep watch over the juvenile sea lions that wait for their mothers to return.
In the Galapagos Islands, the residents are very protective of their wildlife and keeping them truly wild. They are quick to politely remind guests not and visitors not to interfere with the animals in any way, even to help them or feed them. The balance of nature is a delicate one and the residents of the Galapagos know as well as anybody that our assistance is rarely a good thing.