What kind of animal is a fur seal? Explanation of characteristics, ecology, and habitat


We will explain the characteristics, ecology, and habitat of fur seals. Fur seals consist of northern fur seals and southern fur seals, and are distributed all over the world. Fur seals are animals that you can definitely see in aquariums, but some of their subspecies are actually designated as endangered species.

What is a fur seal? About basic status

Fur seal is a general term for the genus Northern fur seal (Northern fur seal) and southern fur seal (South fur seal) of the pinniped sea lion family. The scientific name is Arctocephalinae. The body length is 200-300 cm and the weight is 150-300 kg. The list below provides basic information.

English(英名)fur seal
scientific name(学名)Arctocephalinae 
classification(分類)Mammalia、 Carnivora、 Otariidae

About classification

Fur seals are comprised of the northern fur seal genus and the southern fur seal genus. The following variants exist:

Scientific Name
Northern fur seal
Callorhinus ursinus
Antarctic fur seal
Arctocephalus gazella
Guadalupe fur seal
Arctocephalus townsendi
Juan Fernández fur seal
Arctocephalus philippii
Galápagos fur seal
Arctocephalus galapagoensis
southern african fur seal
Arctocephalus pusillus
new zealand fur seal
Arctocephalus forsteri
Ananctic fur seal
Arctocephalus tropicalis
southern american fur seal
Arctocephalus australis

Callorhinus ursinus

The northern fur seal is the only fur seal that belongs to the genus Northern fur seal. They live in the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk in the United States. The total length is 213cm and the weight is 180-270kg. The auricles are small and the whole body is densely covered with fine underhair. The population of northern fur seals has decreased dramatically due to overhunting for their fur, and they are now designated as an endangered species.

Arctocephalus gazella

Antarctic fur seals belong to the genus Southern Fur Seals. They live in the South Orkney Islands, South Shetland Islands, South Sandwich Islands, and Kerguelen Island. They have dark brown fur and can grow up to 2 meters long and weigh between 110 and 230 kg. The population is stable.

Arctocephalus townsendi

Guadalupe fur seals can be found in large numbers on Guadalupe Island in Mexico. Male Guadalupe fur seals are much larger than females. Both males and females have a lifespan of 20 years. The population is stable.

Arctocephalus philippii

The Fernandez fur seal is the second smallest animal after the Galapagos fur seal. It has dark brown fur and a very thick neck. It can only be seen in the Fernández Islands and Desventuradas Islands on the Pacific coast of South America.

Arctocephalus galapagoensis

The Galapagos fur seal is endemic to the Galapagos Islands. With a total length of 154-160 cm and a weight of 60-68 kg, it is the smallest species of the southern fur seal genus and the sea lion family. Since the 19th century, their population has declined dramatically due to overhunting for their fur, and they are now designated as an endangered species.

Arctocephalus pusillus

Southern African fur seals can be found in coastal areas of Africa and Australia. Males are 2.0-2.2m long and weigh 190-280kg, while females are 1.2-1.8m long and weigh 36-110kg. It is dark gray to brown in color and its population is stable and is classified as low concern.

Arctocephalus forsteri

New Zealand fur seals can be found in New Zealand and Australia. It is 2m long, weighs 30-50kg, and has external ears and forward-swiveled hind legs. It is easy to recognize because of its long beard and pointed nose. Populations are stable and classified as low concern.

Arctocephalus tropicalis

Antarctic fur seals live in the Indian Ocean and the southern hemisphere of the Atlantic Ocean. They are 2m long and weigh 160kg, and both males and females have cream-orange chests and faces. The belly is gray and the back is dark gray to black. Populations are stable and classified as low concern.

Arctocephalus australis

Southern American fur seals are found along the ocean coasts of the Pacific Ocean in South America. It is 2 meters long and weighs 160 kg, with a thick neck and large shoulders. Males have a mane of long bristles on their necks and shoulders. Populations are stable and classified as low concern.

About habitat

Fur seals are widely distributed in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans.

feature is? What kind of creature is it?

Fur seals have large earlobes. Fur seals are smaller than sea lions and have dense fur. The fur is soft, warm, and has excellent cold protection. Fur seal teeth, like humans, are made of dentin and cementum. They are very dexterous animals that can sleep not only on land but also underwater, and can put their left brain to sleep while keeping their right brain awake. It can stay underwater for about 70 minutes in one breath and can dive to a depth of 180 meters.

What is the ecology like?

Fur seals live on fish, squid, and crustaceans. Reproduction is polygamous and harems are formed. The calving period is from June to July, and it is possible to give birth to one calf at a time. They reach sexual maturity in 3-4 years after birth, and their lifespan is said to be 15-20 years.

Are there any natural enemies?

The fur seal’s biggest natural enemy is the killer whale.

Are fur seals an endangered species?

Some subspecies of fur seals are listed as endangered. Overhunting for their fur has drastically reduced their population, and some subspecies are at risk of extinction due to fishing competition and bycatch. Capture for commercial purposes is now prohibited.

Difference between fur seal and sea lion

You can tell the difference between fur seals and sea lions by their appearance. You can tell by looking at the fins. If the tips of the fins are neatly aligned, it’s a fur seal, and if it’s not, it’s a sea lion. Fur seals also have longer fur and larger ears than sea lions.

Can fur seals be kept?

Can fur seals be kept? Unfortunately, it is not realistic for the average person to keep them as they require a huge pool. We recommend viewing it at an aquarium.


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