Feeding & resting

Feeding trips can be shorter than a day or longer than two weeks. The average trip is about one week.

Between trips, seals return to land where they can rest and not be in danger of being eaten by a predator.

Seals do not always return to the same place to rest. They may rest at other colonies or at ‘haul-out’ sites. Around south-eastern Australia, Australian Fur Seals have about 13 colony sites but over 50 haul-out sites. A seal will probably chose to rest at the haul-out or colony which is closest to where it wants to feed.

Pups are not typically born at haul-out sites. Cows that have pups waiting for them must return to their colony to suckle the pup. During trips away from the pup, cows can sometimes rest at other places.

Juveniles, sub-adults and bulls don’t assist with rearing pups. They don’t have to return to the colony as often as a cow that is supporting a pup. Some bulls will rest at places more than 1,000 kilometres from their colony, and may not return to the colony for months. While other bulls will return to the colony as they like to plan where they will try to hold territories during the breeding period. Some bulls even try to chase away other big males that they find sleeping in the territory they plan to hold.