Cape fur seal

Cape fur seal (Arctocephalus pussilis)

South African fur seals, also known as Cape fur seals (Arctocephalus pussilis) occur naturally in the colder waters off South Africa. Each day these fun-loving, furry mammals surprise young and old alike with their amusing antics as they participate in pantomimes in their specially designed seal stadium. Alternatively, guests can simply enjoy watching the seals as they swim and sun themselves in the exhibit pool alongside. Many of the seals living at Sea World were stranded along our coast, and joined our thriving colony after extensive treatment and rehabilitation.

Although rather ungainly on land, seals are wonderfully agile in water. When swimming, their bodies assume a torpedo shape which allows them to move swiftly through the water at speeds of up to 28 kilometres an hour. The front flippers act as paddles to propel them through the water, while the back flippers are used to steer and change direction in the water. Seals are mammals and females come ashore each year to give birth to their pups.

Seals have good eyesight when out of the water, but when in murky or dark conditions, they rely on another sense to help them find their way around. Whiskers on either side of the face grow up to 45 centimetres in length. These strong, flexible bristles pick up vibrations in the water from up to two metres away.

The Sea World seals receive the best possible care from the animal behaviourists dedicated to their care. Each day they receive a balanced diet of different fish species. Their voracious appetites have them eat the equivalent of between 6 and 10% of their body weight every day.