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Fur Seals Eared Seals and Sea Lions: Otariidae

Physical Characteristics, Conservation Status, Antarctic Fur Seal (arctocephalus Gazella:): Species Accounts, California Sea Lion (zalophus Californianus): Species AccountsGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET

ANTARCTIC FUR SEAL (Arctocephalus gazella:): SPECIES ACCOUNTS
CALIFORNIA SEA LION (Zalophus californianus): SPECIES ACCOUNTS
GALÁPAGOS SEA LION (Zalophus wollebaeki): SPECIES ACCOUNTS

Otariids haul out on land near the waters they inhabit, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

When breeding or molting, shedding fur, otariids gather on rocky coastlines, sandy and gravel beaches, and caves. They also breed in mainland areas in Africa, Argentina, and Peru.

Otariids feed on krill, a small shrimp-like animal, fish, crustaceans like shrimps, crabs, and lobsters, mollusks such as clams, mussels, squid, and octopuses, and penguins. A small fur seal weighing 110 pounds (50 kilograms) consumes about 4 to 5 pounds (1.8 to 2.3 kilograms) of food per feeding.

Otariids are active both day and night. Expert divers, they swim to the deepest parts of the ocean floor to forage, find food. They breed annually, except for the Australian sea lion that breeds every seventeen-and-a-half months. Some species migrate far to rookeries, breeding colonies. Females give birth to one pup a year.

In the nineteenth century, fur seals were hunted for their fur, meat, and blubber. Today fishermen consider seals as competitors for fish. Seals' body parts may be used as aphrodisiacs, believed to increase sexual desire, or ornaments. Seals may be threatened by pollution caused by humans.

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Animal Life ResourceMammals