The Galapagos Fur seal, often difficult to differentiate between the Galapagos sea lion, is the smallest of the otariid family. This species spends much of its time in the western islands and waters, and are endemic to the Galapagos Islands. With a small population number and range, they are listed as endangered on the IUCN list. Although they are adorable and playful, the Galapagos fur seals are incredible hunters, foraging for fish and various cephalopods at depths of 50 meters or more. They typically forage during the night and near the shoreline where fish are abundant, with reports showing a trip that can last up to 16 hours. The males can be up to 2x heavier than the females and 1–1.3 times longer. The males average 1.5 m in length and 64 kg in weight, while females are typically 1.2 m in length and 28 kg in mass. Sea lions are social creatures, living in large colonies for protection. During the reproductive period, the females divide up the territories during the breeding season, where they will spend months caring for their young. Fascinatingly, the mothers can identify their children by smell and sound, which is necessary for mothers as the babies often look identical. As for the infant Galapagos fur seals responsibility, they must learn the calls of their mother, otherwise face the consequences of the wrong mother which may react unfairly.
The Galápagos fur seal’s scientific name, Arctocephalus galapagoensis, comes from Greek and it means “bear handed”. *Galápagos fur seals often utter two different sounds while foraging including a lengthened growl and a snaping noise. It is thought that the sounds aid in foraging and they are not a form of communication. *The Galapagos fur seal typically avoids hunting at night in order to avoid predation from sharks.