Australian Animal Archive

Australian Fur Seal.
Arctocephalus pusillus.
(pue-sil'-us : "weak bear-head")

Status: Abundant.

Australian Fur Seal

The Australian Fur Seal is largely confined to Bass Strait. They are excellent swimmers and descend to considerable depths is search of fish, small squid and rock lobster.

Breeding occurs in November and December and a single pup is reared and stay with the mother for about 11 months before being weaned. Male Fur Seals are much larger and bulkier than their female counterparts.

Aggressive displays take places on land as the male fur seals become intensely territorial when breeding. Males put on ritual shows of strength and force by stretching to their full height, pushing and shoving each other and roaring threats which sometimes lead to bloody combat.

A males reign over his territory usually only lasts a few years, as defending his territory is an exhausting activity during which he doesn't eat for several weeks.

Characteristics:
Adults are brownish-grey with a pointed snout. Males have a heavy build with a course mane and grow to 2.5m in length. Females are slimer and grow to about 1.5m.
Habitat:
Cool or temperate seas with rocky coastlines for breeding.
Behaviour:
Social animals, often found in large colonies. Rests and nurses pups on land. Feeding every two days.
Breeding:
A single pup born November-January. Weaned just prior to the next mating season.
Feeding:
Pursues prey underwater.
Diet consists mainly of fish, squid and octopus. Occasionally crayfish and baby penguins.
Voice:
Often silent but very vocal during the breeding season. Males will bark and growl during territorial confrontations.









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