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Northern Fur Seal - Callorhinus ursinus
Photo by Michael Richlen

Northern fur seals have distinct differences from all other seals and sea lions in that they have a relatively small head, short snout, long hind-flippers, and an abrupt absence of fur on their flippers. Adult males are typically much longer and heavier than females (600 vs. 110 pounds), but they can lose 1/4 their body weight during the breeding season trying to protect their territory. Northern fur seal females are capable of finding their pups in large crowds by moving through the breeding colony and listening for their pup's distinctive voice. Both have extremely dense fur, which keeps the cool ocean water from their skin to preserve body heat.

Northern Fur Seal
(Callorhinus ursinus)

Distribution
Southern California to the Alaskan coastline and across the Pacific to the Russian coast and northern Japan

Habitat
Breeding seals mostly occupy rocky beaches, but spend the remainder of the year at sea

Diet
Small schooling fish and squid

Status

The status of this species is representative of the populations within the waters of this Sanctuary only, not global populations.

Quick Fact
During the breeding season, 3/4 of the total world population of northern fur seals can be found on the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea.

Learn More
- The National Marine Mammal Laboratory
- Seal Conservation Society
- University of Michigan Museum of Zoology