Seals Agile and playful
mammal_icon.png
Type mammal
height_icon.png
Length up to 2m
weight_icon.png
Weight 60-200kg
diet_icon.png
Diet carnivore

South American fur seal

Arctocephalus australis
  • Summary

    The South American fur seals belong to the same family as sea lions (Otariidae, meaning eared seals). They are more agile on land than the 'earless' seals as they can move their hind limbs forward underneath their body which is raised as they move.

  • Dietary

    Fur seals are carnivores and eat fish and squid. In captivity they have whole or chopped fish, usually mackerel, with special "fish-eater" tablets containing supplementary vitamins and minerals which are necessary when using frozen fish. They are sometimes given ice blocks with frozen fish inside. The seals play with them as they melt and obtain the treat inside.

  • Habitat

    In the wild, fur seals are found in the oceans and around the coasts of Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and the Falklands. In the breeding season, this species prefers rocky coasts, where adults haul out onto the rocks. They are particularly numerous on the coast of Uruguay and can sometimes be seen in the open ocean breaking the water surface to breath.

    species range map

  • Conservation

    Like all fur seals, this species was hunted almost to extinction for their rich, warm fur. Until very recently they were still being killed in Uruguay, but in 1991 the hunt was finally stopped.

    A growing threat may be the reduction of fish stocks that the seals depend on, as a result of large-scale industrial fishing.

    Red List Status Least Concern

    Red List Status Least Concern

    IUCN Red List species link

  • Did you know...

    Fur seals also have a different type of coat from that of sea lions, having considerably more secondary hairs, forming a dense undercoat which effectively insulates the body. Other seals have a thick layer of blubber to keep them warm, rather than a layer of "fur".

  • Where to find us at Bristol Zoo

    You can find our South American fur seals inside the Seal & Penguin Coasts exhibit

    Bristol Zoo Gardens map with Seal and Penguin Coasts

tickets.png

Book online & save up to 29% on your admission tickets

Buy Now

Tap to book online & save up to 29% on your admission tickets