The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Cape Fur Seal

Afrikaans name: Kaapse Pelsrob

A Cape Fur Seal in Hout Bay harbour

A large Cape Fur Seal photographed at Hout Bay

Photo © Steven Herbert

Arctocephalus pusillus

Interesting facts about seals

This seal is widely distributed and so it ends up with different names in different countries. It is called the Brown Fur Seal, Australian Fur Seal, South African Fur Seal or, as we call it in South Africa, the Cape Fur Seal.

The Cape Fur Seal is a large mammal growing to a length of around 2.3 metres and can weigh up to 300 kg. Females are quite a bit smaller. The good news is that our South African Cape Fur Seals are bigger than those found in other countries.

Fish and squid make up the main diet of these seals. The Cape Fur Seal is, in turn, preyed on by the Great White Shark and Orca. On the beach they may fall prey to Brown Hyenas or Black-backed Jackals.

Cape Fur Seals spend most of their time at sea but gather into colonies to breed.

Cape Fur Seals float in chilly waters with their flippers out the water to warm up

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - Cape Fur Seals float in the chilly waters off Hout Bay with their flippers out the water to try and get some warmth. They also may float with their hindquarters out the water, and head under water, so they can watch for predators such as the Great White Shark.

References and further reading

Marine Mammals - Author: Chris & Mathilde Stuart - Published: 2021 - Page: 64

Questions and Answers - Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Published: 1990 - Page: 26

South African Animals in the Wild - Author: Anthony Bannister - Published: 1985 - Page: 104

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 303

The Coastal Guide of South Africa - Author: Jacana Media - Published: 2007 - Page: 18

Wild Ways - 2nd Edition - Author: Peter Apps - Published: 2000 - Page: 110

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 242

Wildlife of the Cape Peninsula - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2001 - Page: 22

Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 2001 - Page: 250

Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of SA - 2nd edn - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1991 - Page: 404

Mammals of the Kruger and other National Parks - Author: The National Parks Board - Published: 1980 - Page: 160

A Field Guide to the Eastern Cape Coast - Author: R. Lubke, F. Gess & M. Bruton - Published: 1988 - Page: 121

A Field Guide to the Mammals of Africa including Madagascar - Author: Theodor Haltenorth and Helmut Diller - Published: 1980 - Page: 168

African Wildlife - Vol 40 No 3 - Author: - Published: 1986 - Page: 100

African Wildlife - Vol 40 No 3 - Author: - Published: 1986 - Page: 103

Chris and Tilde Stuarts Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa - 1st Edit - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 1988 - Page: 250


List of South African Mammals

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