South African Fur Seal

Scientific Name:
Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus
1.2-2.3 m (3.9-7.5 ft)
35-360 kg (77.2-793.6 lbs)
good to go
pilchards, lanternfish, sardines, anchovies, pelagic goby, horse mackerel, demersal hake, squid, snoek, cape gannets, cormorants and jackass penguins and rock lobster

Physical characteristics

Large heads with a pointed snout and small ear flaps. They are brown or gray. Males have a darker area behind their heads, while females have a dark underside and light throat. Pups are black, and turn gray with a pale colored throat.

Behavioral characterization

Coastal species, rarely travel into open waters. Often seen hauled out on rocks or beaches.


Found from the southeastern coast of South Africa all the way around the cape and along the Namibian coast

Population size

1.5-2 million


Humans, Sharks, Killer Whales, Jackals and Hyenas

Migration/Dispersal patterns

Travel only to breeding colonies. These colonies can be found between Cape Frio in Namibia to Port Elizabeth in South Africa.

Social system/Group size

Live in harems. Adult males fight for territory at the breeding sites, and then females come ashore to give birth.

Major threats

Starvation due to lack of food Seal hunts Water pollution

Research efforts


Fun fact

Cape fur seals eat about 5% of their body weight each day