Brown Fur Seal or Cape Fur Seal * Kaapse Pelsrob * Arctocephalus Pusillus

By © Hans Hillewaert, CC BY-SA 3.0,
The largest and toughest member of the fur seal family is the brown fur seal. Depending on the subspecies, the brown fur seal varies in size and weight. On average, the subspecies from Southern Africa are slightly bigger than the ones from Australia.

While adult female brown fur seals are light brown to gray with a light throat and darker back and belly, male brown fur seals are dark gray to brown with a darker mane of short, coarse hairs and a light belly.

The African fur seal is found in Africa's southern and southwestern coasts, from Cape Cross in Namibia and the Cape of Good Hope to Black Rocks in the Eastern Cape region, close to Port Elizabeth.

Up to 70% of the African fur seal's food consists of fish, 20% of it squid, and 2% of it crab. Rarely, they have even been seen devouring sharks and attacking them. A huge male was recently seen attacking and killing five blue sharks between 1.0 and 1.4 m long near Cape Point, South Africa. Observers came to the conclusion that the seal probably killed the sharks in order to consume their fish-rich stomach contents as well as their livers as a source of energy.

The great white shark is the primary predator of brown fur seals, however they are also preyed upon by other creatures like killer whales and stray southern elephant seals. On Namibia's Skeleton Coast, land-based predators include black-backed jackals, brown hyenas, and sporadically lions. Seagulls are also suspected of pecking the eyes out of young seals in order to render them defenseless and crippled so that they can feast on their flesh.

When in the water, this species is a curious and kind creature that frequently hangs out with scuba divers. Even at a depth of 60 m, they can be seen swimming close to divers for extended periods of time. On land, they are far less calm and more likely to become frightened when people approach them.