Animal Database

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Animal Database
Animal Database
South American Fur Seal
Two South American Fur Seal
Range Chile, Peru and Argentina
Estimated Population 500,000
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Carnivora
Family Otariidae
Genus Arctocephalus
Species A. australis
Conservation Status
Least Concern

The South American Fur Seal is from a genus of fur seal. The South American Fur Seal is endemic to the coasts of Chile, Peru and Argentina.


The South American Fur Seal has a dark grey coat of fur. The males of the species are almost entirely this colour, through they may have grey or tan, grizzled markings. The females and subadult males have lighter gray or tan colouring on the cheat and muzzle, and may have a rust-brown or medium gray fur on their undersides. The muzzle is flat-topped and pointed, with a medium-sized nose. The nostrils are forward-facing and the nose extends past the mouth. The ear pinnae are long and prominent, and the vibrissae of adults are creamy white and of realtively short length. Adult males are larger than females, with thicker necks and large shoulders. Males also develop manes of longer guard hairs on their heads and shoulders. Size of the seals varies based on region, but in average, adult males measure up to 2 m long and weigh 150-200 kg and females measure up to 1.5 m long and weigh 30-60 kg. Newborns are 60-65 cm and weigh 3.5-5.5 kg.


The South American Fur Seal is found on neotropical ocean coasts from the Paracas Peninsula of Southern Peru South to Cape Horn on the Pacific Coast, and Northward to Southern Brazil on the Atlantic Coast. They are also found on the Falkland Islands, Staten Island and Escondida Island. South American Fur Seals prefer rocky shores and islands, particularly those with steep slopes, which provide shady areas where they can escape the heat of the sun. They have been found in sea caves in Peru, where some climb up to 15 meters to find a spot to rest. They have been isolated records from continental Ecuador, The Galapagos Islands and the Gorgona Island.


South American Fur Seal adults in Peru feed almost exclusively on Anchovies, and juveniles there feed on demersal fish. In Uruguay their diet consists of Anchovies as well as other fish species. In Brazil, this species is known to feed on shrimp and fish, and in Chile, lobster krill is the primary component of the South American Fur Seals diet. Lactating females tend to dive and feed at night to an average depth of 40 m for periods of about 3 minutes through otherwise they have been observed diving to depths of up to 170 m for up to 7 minutes.


In the wild South American Fur Seals live for about 12-30 years.