Arctocephalus – Southern fur seals

All fur seals enjoy swimming on their backs, making a classic ‘jug-handle’ position

Word Arctocephalus is derived from two Greek words; arctos (bear) and kephale (head), meaning bear-headed. The underfur layered pelage is the most prominent diagnostic feature that helps distinguish these fur seals from sea lions. The fur in the Southern fur seals outstretches the flipper ending over the metacarpals. Contrary to this, in Northern fur seals, the coat ends at the base of the flipper. The male species are ferocious and difficult to catch; therefore, most data is available on pregnant females and harmless babies.

These species frequently feed on prey, including small insects, seabirds, fish, and even penguins. During the 18th and 19th centuries, these fur seal species experienced a severe population decline. However, recent conservation efforts have resulted in the replenishment of these precious animals.