South African Fur Seal - A Gentle Giant

South african fur sealThe South African fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus) is a friendly and curious animal. These creatures live on the coasts South Africa and both coasts of Australia. They are also known as Cape fur seals, Australian fur seals, or Brown fur seals. Male South African fur seals can grow up to 7 ft (2.2 m) and weigh between 440 and 800 lbs (200-360 kgs). Females are smaller in size with their length going up to 5 ft (1.7 m) and average weight around 260 lbs (120 kgs).

Another way to tell the difference between males and females is their coloring. Males are darker in color than females. Males also have a mane that can show their age as it gets lighter as they get older. South African Fur Seal pups are born black and turn lighter as they get older.

South African fur seals can be found in large groups on rocky or sandy beaches, but they tend to be very independent when traveling. They typically pick rocky islands as their breeding sites in early November. The females are very particular when choosing their mates, basing their decision on how much territory the male candidate claims as his. When males arrive at the breeding site, they fight for territory to impress the females. Pups are born after a 12 month long gestation period.
They are weaned over a period of another 12 months with females reaching sexual maturity at 3-4 years and males at 4-5 years.

Even though South African Fur Seal can seem intimidating because of their size, they are remarkably friendly animals. They feel very comfortable in water and even enjoy swimming along with divers. This gives people a great opportunity to bond with these gentle giants. When approached by people on shore, they can get a bit spooked. However, they will not attack. Their main source of food is fish, sometimes crustaceans, or even birds.

South African seals are protected in Australia by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, passed in 1999, and in Africa by the Sea Birds and Seals Protection Act of 1973. Their greatest threats are great white sharks and orca.

Keywords: brown

The Afro-australian fur seal, brown fur seal, cape fur seal, south african fur seal is listed as Least Concern (LR/lc), lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category, on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Namings for the South African fur seal
A young / baby of a South African fur seal is called a 'pup'. The females are called 'cow' and males 'bull'. A South African fur seal group is called a 'pod, colony, crash, flock, harem, bob, herd, rookery, team or hurd'.
Some facts about the
South African fur seal

Adult weight : 127.551 kg (280.6122 lbs)

Maximum longevity : 32 years

Female maturity :1276 days

Male maturity : 1643 days

Gestation : 368 days

Weaning : 354 days

Litter size : 1

Litters per year : 1

Interval between litters : 365 days

Weight at birth : 6.2 kg (13.64 lbs)

Weight at weaning : 26.15 kg (57.53 lbs)

Source: AnAge, licensed under CC

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