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Any of nine species of eared seals valued for their fur, especially the chestnut-coloured underfur. Fur seals live in groups and feed on fish and other animals. They were driven nearly to extinction by fur hunters, and most species are now protected by law. The northern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus) is a migratory inhabitant of northern seas. The male is deep brown, has a grayish mane, grows to about 10 ft (3 m) long, and weighs about 650 lb (300 kg). The dark gray female is much smaller. The eight species of southern fur seals (genus Arctocephalus) occur in the Southern Hemisphere and on Guadalupe Island, Mex. They are brown or black and average 4–6 ft (1.2–1.8 m) long.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on fur seal, visit Britannica.com.