Friday, June 17, 2022

Galapagos Fur Seal

Sea lions and fur seals make up the family Otariidae: the eared seals. There are seven species of sea lion (Steller's, Australian, South American, New Zealand, California, Japanese and Galapagos)  and nine species of fur seal (Antarctic, Brown, Galapagos, Guadalupe, Juan Fernandez, New Zealand, South American, Subantarctic and Northern). Of note, two of the sixteen, one species of sea lion and one species of fur seal, are endemic to the Galapagos Islands. 

The Galapagos fur seal is the smallest eared seal and there are an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 of them. Males are twice as heavy as females and 1.3 times longer. They are usually found along rocky shorelines on ledges or in crevices. They primarily eat at night, because their food is easier to catch then, and thus they have developed large eyes. They are listed as endangered by the IUCN. 
We saw them only once while in the Galapagos Islands. We were on Santiago Island and in a panga heading northeast from Espumilla Beach. A parent and pup were wedged under a huge boulder just yards away from the ocean.  

1 comment:

  1. I don't think I realized that we saw two different species, but in looking at your photos, I can see these fur seals are different from the sea lions we saw on Isabela and Fernandina Islands.