The Australian Fur Seal can be seen gracefully swimming in the surf or resting on beaches. Like its terrestrial relatives, dogs and cats, it has large canine teeth that allow it to eat fish, squid, octopus and crayfish. It breaks its prey by shaking and later spews out indigestible bits. At breeding time males of at least eight years old come ashore and establish a territory. Females come ashore later and give birth to one pup. Mating occurs five to seven days after birth.
The Fur Seal has been drastically reduced in numbers by the fur trade in the 1800’s and now occurs only in small numbers on the islands of Bass Straight, parts of Tasmania and southern Victoria.
Illustration and photo: Mark Trinham