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Northern Fur Seal - Callorhinus ursinus
Photo by Michael Richlen

Northern fur seals are most notable for their dense, waterproof fur - over 300,000 hairs per square inch. They have a short muzzle and extremely long 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 protecting their territory. When encountered at sea, they may exhibit a distinctive "jughandling" posture, floating on their sides while arching their long fore- and hind-flippers against each other.

Northern Fur Seal
(Callorhinus ursinus)

Found from southern California to the Alaskan coastline and across the Pacific to the Russian coast and northern Japan

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

Small schooling fish and squid


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

Quick Fact
The largest breeding grounds for this species are the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, and the Channel Islands. However, in 1996, for the first time in 170 years northern fur seals resumed breeding at the Farallon Islands.

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