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Galapagos fur seal

Galapagos fur seal
© Amanda Precious

Common name:

Galapagos fur seal

Scientific name:

Arctocephalus galapagoensis

Spanish name:

Oso marino de las Galápagos

Conservation status:



Average lifespan:

10 years

Average size:

1.3 metres (females) / 1.5 metres (males)

Average weight:

27 kilograms (females) / 64 kilograms (males)


Galapagos fur seals are typically found on the rocky shores of the western islands of the Galapagos Archipelago. They are endemic to the Islands, and due to their decreasing population size they are classed as Endangered by the IUCN. They are the smallest in the family of otariids (the eared seals), and have a greyish-brown fur coat.   

They are very similar in appearance to the Galapagos sea lion, however there are some key differences to tell them apart. Fur seals are generally smaller with broader and shorter heads. They have bulging eyes and ears that protrude more than sea lions’, and larger front flippers that aid in climbing rockier ground. The biggest difference is probably in their coat, which is much thicker than that of the sea lions. 

It is often thought that the Galapagos fur seal is much less abundant than the Galapagos sea lion, but their population numbers are actually fairly similar. They are just less likely to be seen by visitors as they prefer rockier, shaded areas, which are less likely to be frequented by tourists. 

Galapagos fur seals in Galapagos

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Please help us conserve the endangered wildlife of Galapagos by donating today or by adopting a sea lion.

Read more about Galapagos fur seals...

Galapagos fur seal (easily confused with a Galapagos sea lion)
26th Oct 2015
Wildlife facts

Fur seal or sea lion?

The Galapagos fur seal and the Galapagos sea lion can be difficult to tell apart. We’ve compiled this list of top tips with expert advice from Galapagos sea lion expert, Professor Fritz Trillmich.
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