Having two large eyes on a furry face with whiskers on a pointed snout, a fur seal is covered with two layers of brown fur. Its broad head is adorned with two external ears which served as distinguishing mark of a fur seal from other seals or a true seal. It also has sharp teeth to munch on the day’s catch.
A fur seal has an uncanny ability to move on four limbs. It uses its flippers to raise its body, move on land, and swim in the water. It is such an agile swimmer that it can dive up to 200 meters deep in the sea. Also a skillful fisher, a fur seal’s diet consists of fish, squid, and octopus.
Measuring around 135 to 227 centimeters in length, a male fur seal is usually larger than the female. It can weigh from around 218 to 360 kilograms while the female around 41 to 113 kilograms. A mature male seal wears a dark mane of coarse fur.
Most Australian fur seals live on the islands around the Bass Strait, southern Victoria, and some parts of Tasmania. And they have made Phillip Island one of their largest colonies. The famous Seal Rocks at the island’s southwestern tip, 2 kilometers off the coast of the Nobbies, is home to 30,000 fur seals. That’s a quarter of the entire Australian fur seal population.
Closely related to the South African fur seal, the Australian fur seal was overly harvested during the 1800s. But Australian law had protected the seals that their number now has gradually increased toward recovery.
The fur seals have been among the most productive residents of Phillip Island. Living on island’s the rocky shores, they entertain visitors and are hospitable enough that some of them might meet and greet you.
The best time to visit them on Seal Rocks is from October to December, during their breeding season. Some of them feed their young while others just enjoy the sun. They would playfully wrestle each other, and would also cool off by swimming in the water.
If you’re planning to have an excursion on Phillip Island, make sure you don’t miss the Seal Rocks. Fur seals are simply adorable especially when the pups are playing in the water or on the rocks. Something that you can’t resist yourself from snapping some photos or recording a video.
Seeing the fur seals first hand would be a great experience. So, let’s travel!