Scroll Top

Northern Fur Seal

Callorhinus ursinus

Northern fur seals, known scientifically as Callorhinus ursinus, are part of the Otariidae family, which is the cool club of sea lions and fur seals. These fur seals are easy to spot because of their super thick, cozy, and dark brown fur that keeps them warm while they’re splashing around in the chilly North Pacific Ocean.

The guys in this group, the adult males, are pretty big, stretching up to 8.2 feet long (about 2.5 meters) and tipping the scales at up to 660 pounds (around 300 kg), which is about as heavy as a grand piano! 

The ladies, or adult females, are a bit more petite, reaching about 4.9 feet in length (1.5 meters) and weighing around 220 pounds (about 100 kg), which is roughly the weight of a big refrigerator. So, there’s quite a size difference between the boys and the girls in the Northern fur seal world!

Northern fur seals call the chilly waters of the North Pacific Ocean their home, especially loving the areas around the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska. 

When it comes to family time and taking breaks from swimming, they prefer rocky islands and beaches. A big chunk of these fur seals choose the Pribilof Islands in Alaska for their breeding grounds and hangout spots.

Northern fur seals diet is not a picky one. They love to feast on a mix of fish and squid, with some of their favorites being herring, capelin, and sand lance, plus squid for a bit of variety. 

Northern fur seals are social animals that congregate in large colonies during the breeding season. Adult males establish territories and defend them against other males, while females give birth and nurse their pups. 

Once the breeding season is over, they spread out and enjoy some alone time, swimming far and wide, from the coastlines to the open sea, just enjoying the vast ocean until it’s time to come together again.

The Northern fur seal, known in the science world as Callorhinus ursinus, is pretty special because it’s the only member of its genus, Callorhinus. It’s like being the only person in a family with a unique last name! They’re closely related to their cousins down south, the Southern fur seals (Arctocephalus australis).

Even though these fur seals are doing okay overall, with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) labeling them as a species of “least concern,” their history hasn’t been all smooth sailing. Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, people hunted them a lot for their fur, which really hurt their numbers. Thankfully, they’ve been making a comeback, which is great news!
Northern Fur Seal Graphic
© Tarpan - Stock.Adobe.Com
Northern Fur Seal photo
© moodboard - Stock.Adobe.Com
Northern Fur Seal Clickable
© Tarpan - Stock.Adobe.Com
© Nick Taurus - Stock.Adobe.Com