Shore Buddies Wisdom Wednesday
Fur Seals are named for their two-layered fur: an outer layer, and an undercoat that helps their skin stay dry underwater. Now protected, this species was hunted almost to extinction for the fur trade in earlier centuries. Fur seal has very thick, reddish brown, brownish gray or black fur. Females of some species have light-colored fur on the front side of the body. Fur seal has small ears, long, muscular front flippers and stocky body. Seals move swiftly and gracefully through the water using their powerful fore flipper and can be quite agile on land, walking on all four of their flippers. Seals can often be seen floating in the water with their flipper(s) in the air. This behavior is called 'sailing' or 'jug handling' and helps to regulate their body temperature. Fur seal spends most of its time on the sea where it collects food and sleeps (usually on the back while it floats on the surface of the sea). When it is on the solid ground, fur seal uses its flippers for walking. Fur seal can reach 4 to 10 feet in length and up to 700 pounds of weight. Males are nearly 5 times larger than females. Southern species of fur seal are smaller than northern species. Fur seal has sharp eyesight and excellent sense of hearing. Whiskers on the face facilitate detection of food in the murky waters. Pregnancy lasts 11 to 12 months ends with a single baby (pup). Females regularly return to the sea to eat during the nursing period. Females can easily recognize their babies thanks to the specific calls they produce. They are even able to find their offspring after four years of separation.
If you’re local to the Melbourne Zoo, you can also help by blowing bubbles, not balloons and supporting Seal the Loop, which distributes specially designed bins around Victorian coastal areas to collect fishing waste and reduce rates of marine wildlife entanglement. Find out more information at https://www.zoo.org.au/melbourne/habitats/wild-sea/long-nosed-fur-seal/