South American Fur Seal

The South American Fur Seal (Arctocephalus australis) is an aquatic marine (saltwater) mammal in the Pinnipedia clade and Otariidae family of sea lions and fur seals. It is a pinniped (fin-footed) and an otariid (eared seal).

The South American Fur Seal has dark-grey or brown fur. The male has a mane of hair around its neck. It has a thick neck, broad chest, broad shoulders, and an upturned nose. It has white whiskers on its chin called vibrissae. It does not have external ear flaps.

It has flippers for swimming. Its movement in water is called aquatic locomotion. Its body is streamlined with oily fur for swimming fast underwater. It has a fatty body, called blubber, which keeps it warm and buoyant. It has a flexible spine (backbone). It has short fins, and on land, it has difficulty walking, so it crawls.

South American Fur Seal

It grows to about 150-200 centimetres (59-99 inches) long. The male is larger than the female, with thicker necks and larger shoulders.

It is native to the coastline off South America, in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, and the Falkland Islands. It spends most of its time at sea, but it comes to land to breed and to shed its fur. It prefers sandy or rocky beaches. 

It feeds on fish and squid, as well as clams. Its predators include the Killer Whale and the Great White Shark.

The South American Fur Seal lives in colonies of individuals. The breeding site, which the colonies inhabit for six weeks, is usually a small rocky island or a rocky part of the mainland. The male territory has 7-30 females. 

The female is pregnant for 270 days (9 months) before giving birth to one live young, called a pup. The pup sheds its juvenile fur and grows adult fur after 4-6 months of age.

South American Fur Seal
South American Fur Seal
South American Fur Seal

Location of photograpsh: Parc Zoologique de Paris in Bois de Vincennes, France

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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