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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Fur Seal Facts You'll Never Forget

Fur seal populations are facing threats due to loss of habitat

Fur seal (scientific name: Arctocephalinae), is closer to the sea lion than it is to a seal and has similar ears as them. The fur seal is of two types: the northern fur seal which is found in the northern hemisphere and the southern fur seal which is found in the southern hemisphere. The northern fur seals, also known as Northern fur seal Callorhinus (belonging to the genus Callorhinus), inhabit the northern Pacific region, like southern California. The southern fur seals are found in the areas like southern Australia, New Zealand, South America, among other regions. Generally, there are many other types of fur seals also. The various nine species differ based on the land that they occupy. Their names include Antarctic fur seal, brown fur seal, northern fur seal, South American fur seal, sub Antarctic fur seal, New Zealand fur seal, guadalupe fur seal, Galapagos, and Juan Fernandez fur seals. Of these, eight species constitute the southern fur seals, and the rest are known as northern fur seals.

Let’s take a look at the below facts and find out where do the northern fur seals and southern fur seals live. Afterwards, do check out the more interesting information on elephant seal and harbor seal.

Fur Seal Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a fur seal?

A fur seal is one of the marine mammals. They generally reside in oceans but can also stay on rock terrains. These animals are largely carnivorous are spread across the world with the population of its largest species ranging up to two to four million seals.

What class of animal does a fur seal belong to?

Fur seals belong to the Mammalia class and constitute mammals. These marine mammals have hair on their body and give birth to young ones. The fur seal is a very intelligent species and is also known to form social bonds and interact with humans.

How many fur seals are there in the world?

There are a variety of species of fur seals and they have varied populations based on the genus they belong to. Below are the species type and its population numbers.

Antarctic fur seal: two to four million.

Northern fur seal: 880k in the United States water.

New Zealand fur seal: 50k.

Guadalupe fur seal: 34k.

Galapagos fur seal: 10k-15k.

Brown fur seal: 2.12 million.

Juan Fernandez fur seal: 12.5k.

Sub Antarctic fur seal: 300k.

South American fur seal: 300k-450k.

Where does a fur seal live?

A fur seal lives in the oceans as it is a marine animal. However, when they have to mate, they come to the rocky coastlines. They generally don’t live on land and spend the most time in the water, but when food is scarce, they come towards lands to try to find food. The southern fur seals are spread across the regions of southern Australia, Antarctica, South America, the Galapagos Islands, Africa, New Zealand. However, the northern fur seals range in the lands of the Bering Sea and the seas in the north of Japan.

What is a fur seal's habitat?

Their habitat consists largely of oceanic waters. Though they are also found in some seas in the north of Japan, they are more likely to be found in the oceanic area. The fur seals seldom go to the islands near them or the rocky coastline that surrounds the marine body they are in. This is usually done in the breeding season or when they want to find food. Due to their poaching for skin and other body parts, they are now categorized as a protected species.

Who do fur seals live with?

There is no one specific answer to the question "where do seals live?" as these marine animals are found over a wide geographical region. Generally, fur seals live alone but then they might form groups sometimes. They do not migrate much and stay in the same region. Sizeable fur seal population can also be found in some isolated islands or peninsulas where human activity is generally less prominent. As a matter of fact, wandering fur seal population has been located as far as Pribilof Islands, Juan Fernandez Islands, California, and northern Brazil.

How long does a fur seal live?

A fur seal lives for about 12-18 years. Female fur seals are typically known to outlive male fur seals. They can live for as long as even 25 years at times. But the lifespan of a male fur seal is relatively less.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season for fur seals start in the month of October and continues till December. The adult male seals come to the breeding island before the females during the breeding season. They wait for the female fur seals to arrive who are already pregnant from the previous season and give birth between November and December. When they arrive, the adult male fur seals compete to mate with as many as 40-100 female seals. Since more than one male wants to mate with one female, in those cases, they have to fight each other and some might even bite the other to establish their dominance. Females give birth to one fur seal pup after a gestation period of up to one year.

What is their conservation status?

The fur seals need to be protected since they are in near-threatened conservation status. This is because of humans preying on the seals for their fur and other such predators. Humans prey on fur seals for seal pelt.

Fur Seal Fun facts

What do fur seals look like?

Fur seals look like sea lions largely and have a soft layer of fur. They have external ears, also known as pinnae, and also have whiskers. This can make their head look like a dog which is why some people even ask “are seals related to dogs?”. Fur seal pups are born with a thick black-brown coat that molts after a period of two to three months.

The increasing demand for animal pelt is also a reason behind their reducing numbers.

How cute are they?

Fur seals can look very cute. Because of their resemblance in appearance to a dog, this can make them look oddly cute. In addition to this, seals are also very intelligent and can respond to human interactions. Therefore, they can appear to be very cute to look at and to bond over.

How do they communicate?

Fur seals, like most animals, communicate by making loud sounds with their throat. Based on the region and the requirement, seals can often make very low sounds that travel far in the ocean.

How big is a fur seal?

A fur seal is about 1.5-2 m long. They are about 1.25 times longer than a sea lion.

How fast can a fur seal swim?

Despite their bodily appearance, it’s quite shocking that a fur seal can swim up to 15 mph. It is quite impressive speed for a fur seal.

How much does a fur seal weigh?

The males in most seal species including the fur seal Callorhinus ursinus, the male weighs about five times as a female. So, the average weight of the male is around 700 lb where the females measure nearly between 100-200 lb.

What are their male and female names of the species?

The male species of the fur seals are called bulls and the female counterparts as known as cows.

What would you call a baby fur seal?

A baby fur seal is generally called a pup just like a dog’s young one. This adds to the resemblance between a seal and a dog.

What do they eat?

The seals are carnivorous and prey on many small fishes, squids, and birds. They also have many predators including tigers, leopards, and humans. Human poaching has been a great threat to the fur seal population.

Do they bite?

Fur seals can bite each other when aggressive. Even during the breeding phase, the males bite each other to win the female fur seal.

Do humans eat them?

Seal meat is used as food for many humans and other predators. A lot of their organs including blubber, and other such organs are also sought after.

Did you know...

Fur seals also have some small claws which are located on their flippers which can be used to grip their prey and can also be used to grip the land. Some fur seals can also dive as deep as 800 feet deep into the ocean despite being mammals. They, however, still survive on-air and can dive very deep.

How much is a fur seal coat worth?

Although it is illegal, a fur coat from seal blubber can cost up to $1400 to $1500 and is considered a luxury. Animal pelts, although illegal to own, are very luxurious and some people even try to buy them illegally. This is why fur seal pelts were bought earlier.

What is the difference between a fur seal and a sea lion?

It is usually said that a fur seal is closer to a sea lion than it is to a seal. So it is obvious for people to confuse the two. However, a fur seal and a sea lion differ because the fur seal usually looks black where the sea lion looks brown. Also, sea lions have a nose with their eyes more backward whereas the fur seal has a shorter nose and their eyes are closer to the nose.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including harp seal,or leopard seal.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our seal coloring pages.

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