What Is Life Like For Seals? All About Your Behavior
Seals live in frozen areas, dominated by ice and snow, and spend most of their time at sea. However, they do not leave the land completely, as this is where they have their young every year.
Seals are marine mammals that belong to the pinniped family: they have fins at the ends.
These animals often live in extreme conditions, so they had to adapt and develop very curious strategies to survive.
Below, we’ll look at some details about their habits and behavior to better understand the life of seals.
Where do seals live?
Seals are often found on the coasts of cold regions of the planet. However, some species have also established themselves in warmer regions.
Most live in the salt waters of the sea, but there are some species that have adapted to freshwater lakes.
They are marine animals, but it is very common to see them resting on blocks of ice or rocks. In addition, they can even build caves inside the ice.
They are very adapted to the sea, but they do not completely abandon the land, as this is where they go every year to have their young.
There are 33 known species of seals and their size can vary greatly depending on the species. The elephant seal, for example, can grow up to five meters in length and weigh 2,500 kilos.
A ringed seal, however, can measure 1.20 meters and weigh only 45 kilos.
They have three ends: two fins and a tail. The seal’s fins are short and are better adapted for movement in water than on the ground.
They don’t have auditory pavilions, but they have a highly developed sense of hearing, as well as smell. His head is very small, with big mustaches.
Seals are carnivorous. They feed on crustaceans, fish and cephalopods that live at the bottom of the sea.
Thanks to the layer of fat covering their body, they can dive deep to get their food. Penguins and small seals are also part of your menu.
They catch their prey with their big teeth, and usually eat them whole. For hunting, they use their eyesight, whiskers, which are very sensitive, and their keen sense of hearing.
They hunt very comfortably in the water, even at great depths where there is total darkness.
Outside the aquatic environment, the task is not easy for them. When it comes to hydration, seals don’t drink water, they hydrate themselves through the food they eat.
behavior and predators
Seals usually live in large groups when on land and don’t usually have much of a problem with predators out of the water.
However, in the case of food shortages, the polar bear can attack them to survive.
In the water, smaller seals are hunted by white sharks or whales. The biggest ones have no predators, except humans.
That’s right, the biggest predator of seals is us. About half a million of them die every year from poaching, gunshots or heavy blows to the head. This is because your skin is very valuable.
During the mating stage, males engage in violent disputes to win over the female.
This attitude causes physical wear, in addition to great stress. The consequence is a decrease in their life expectancy compared to females by at least 10 years.
Some species are monogamous and others polygamous. Elephant seals, for example, form harems in which a male has access to many females.
The gestation period is approximately 10 months, after which only one offspring is born.
The mother is very dedicated and even aggressive to defend her offspring if an intruder approaches. However, when it reaches a suitable weight, it is abandoned.
The puppy is fed on breast milk for the first 30 days. This milk has a very special protein and babies gain up to 25 kilos during this period.
After this time of care, they are ready to start their independent lives.