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» SEALS | Tender but agile predators

Want to know more about seals? You are in the right post; read on and delve into the world of this beautiful animal, which is one of the ocean’s wild animals. We have all been touched to see a seal swimming and playing with her companions. They are very intelligent mammals and adapt to different temperatures. You will learn about their characteristics, types, habitat, feeding, and reproduction, and we will answer a fascinating question about these wild animals.

Characteristics of seals

They are a group belonging to pinniped mammals, that is, aquatic carnivorous mammals. They live well out of the water, and however, because of their anatomy, they adapt perfectly to life within it. Its two pairs of fin-shaped, rear-facing legs make it an excellent swimmer; these are more functional at sea than on land.

They adapt very well to low temperatures, and this is due to their hard layer of fat, which is below the coat. This, in turn, is short and dense, more when they reach maturity. Although they lack ears, they have the excellent hearing ability. They have 30 to 36 extremely sharp teeth, perfect for tearing prey, and useful for self-defense. These animals love much rest and sunbathing on the rocks, especially at low tide.

Habitat

Seals have a very different distribution when it comes to their habitat. Most of them live in Antarctica; however, others live in warm areas. The difference in temperature influences the fat layer of their body; the ones that need it the most are those that live in icy areas. They like the coastal areas and where there are rocks to sunbathe and rest. Preferably they live in salty waters, to look for the best species of fish. However, there are types of seals that live in freshwater.

Feeding

Being carnivorous animals, they have a very balanced diet. They mostly consume different types of fish. However, some species prefer krill and squid. The leopard seal is an expert in hunting penguins and is their favorite food.

Reproduction

When it comes to reproduction, some seals become very territorial; males fight each other to see who has the power to choose which females to mate with. Some make a series of grunts and in mating give slight bites to the female. They are mammals, so their reproduction is viviparous. Once offspring are born, the mother breast-feeds them for a few days.

Types of Seals

Common Seal

Also called harbor seal, or spotted a seal, its scientific name is Phoca vitulina. They have brown spots or specks on their bodies, giving them a very delicate appearance. These seals are very shy, so the presence of other animals and humans frightens them. They live in large groups, especially in breeding and moving processes. They can reach a height of 1.85 meters.

Marine Elephant

It belongs to the seal family but is commonly known as the elephant seal. Also, that is because of its peculiar snout in the shape of a horn; but it is only characteristic of adult males. This is the giant seal that exists, having a length of 4 to 5 meters, with males being larger than females, weighing up to a ton. Their main predators are killer whales and sharks.

Leopard Seals

Its scientific name is Hydrurga leptonyx. They are the second-largest type of seal, can measure about 3.7 meters and their coat is dark grey. They are very territorial and aggressive; they live in small groups, unlike other species, sometimes they can even be seen alone. The combination of its highly developed sense of smell and sight, its sharp teeth, and its anatomy perfectly adapted to water make it a fearsome hunting machine.

Seal of Greenland

Also known as the pia seal, its scientific name is Pagophilus groenlandicus. This specimen is well known for its white coat when they are small, which is very adorable to all of us. However, when they grow, their coat turns silvery grey. There is not much difference between males and females. They are very social animals and prefer to spend most of their time in the water.

Are seals, lions and sea lions the same?

This is a matter of much confusion; these three animals have a very similar appearance, and all belong to the pinnipeds. However, some characteristics differentiate them, and it is that these are from different families. Seals belong to the Phocidae family; mammals that do not have ears, and their fins are oriented backward, which makes it difficult for them to be on land. On the contrary, both the lion and the sea lion belong to the Otariidae family; mammals that do have ears and their fins are positioned forward, being perfectly functional both on land and in water.