Previously known as the Cape Fur Seal, these creatures are now officially called South African Fur Seals.

An early morning walk along the Tow Path can be very rewarding.  Not only are there many different species of birds to appreciate, but on rare occasions you might spot a South African Fur Seal lazing in these sheltered waters. While they are regularly seen in the Heads and fishing in the lagoon, sightings on the north shore of Leisure Island are less frequent.

These mammals are endemic to Southern Africa and can be found as far north as the southern tip of Angola, with colonies occurring all along the coastlines of Namibia and South Africa, up to Algoa Bay near Port Elizabeth.

Fur Seals are often referred to as the ‘dogs of the ocean’. They are possibly the most curious and playful mammals you will ever have the pleasure of seeing in their natural environment.  Sometimes they are referred to as the ‘ballet dancers of the ocean’ as they move underwater with such speed and agility.  They use their larger front flippers to propel themselves through the water.  

Fur Seals have small ears on the sides of their heads.  Seals use sound to hunt, and they can detect seven octaves of sound underwater.  They also have surprisingly good hearing in the air.

When on land seals appears to have tiny eyes. These are however widely opened when they are underwater.  They have the ability to dive to a depth of up to 200m, and their intensely-developed eyes help them to see in even the murkiest conditions.  

The Cape Fur Seal is a carnivore, feeding only on other animals. Almost 70% of its diet is made up of fish, while about 20% is squid and the remaining 10% comprises crabs and other crustaceans. The seal will also snatch and eat birds from the shore. On occasion they can be seen ‘herding’ large shoals of fish in circles, and flicking their chosen prey high above the water, while being watched by envious seagulls hoping for a snack, and even more envious fisherfolk sitting on the shore.