Facts about seals that you must learn today

By Stef Zisovska
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A seal
 
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Seals are some of the most beautiful animals with adorable big eyes. Their natural curiosity makes them famous among animal photographers around the world who know exactly how to capture their sincere look. Some of them have ears, others don’t, but they’re equally cute. If you wanted to know how seals live and how they behave, today’s your day because you’re about to learn some fun facts about these amazing creatures.

Seals are mammals

A seal

Seals spend most of their lives in the water, but they breed, give birth to live young and nurse their babies on land.

Seals evolved from land ancestors

As you already know, seals are marine mammals along with sea lions, fur seals, and walruses. What you didn’t know is that the seals’ ancestors were land mammals similar to otters, and some sources mention even bear-like animals.

There are 32 seal species

Seals enjoying the beach

Seals can be found in many parts of the world, but they primarily live in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. The largest seal type in the world is the elephant seal, which can reach a length up to 13 feet and weigh more than 2 tons, while the smallest seal species in the world is the Galapagos furry seal that can grow only 4 feet and weigh 65 pounds. What a difference between the relatives, right?

The seals in the United States

The best seal spotting places in the United States are found in California and New England.

Seals have a thick layer of blubber that regulates their body temperature

A seal in a snow

The blubber on seals bodies is not because they’re lazy and they don’t exercise. It’s there to regulate the body temperature of the seals and it acts as an insulator, for both polar and tropical seals. In the cold regions, the blubber restricts the blood circulation toward the periphery of the body; therefore the heat stays in the lower layers and the animal can survive in the cold. On the other hand, the seals in the warm regions use the blubber and the fur to let go of the extra heat and cool their bodies off.

Seals detect prey with their whiskers

Most of the seals eat fish and squid, and depending on the species they can eat other water animals, too. They feel the prey with their whiskers, which help them to detect the movement and attack very fast. The whiskers actually detect the vibration that the prey produces and help the seal to find its exact location.

Seals dive deep and for an extended amount of time

A close up of a seal

Some of the seal species can dive more than two hours, which classifies them as some of the best divers in the animal kingdom. This amazing ability comes from the high levels of oxygen in their blood and myoglobin in their muscles that allow them to beat world records under the water. They use the stored oxygen and they slow their heart rate when they swim or dive; therefore the amount of time of their water activities is larger.

Seals have natural predators

All seal species have natural predators that hunt them as food, and the most dangerous among them are orcas, polar bears, and sharks. Knowing that the seals are rich in fat, they are a delicious treat for these large predators. Besides the animal predators, seals are killed often by humans.

The greatest threat for the seals are the humans

A seal bathing on the sun

Unfortunately, humans kill seals and use their blubber, their meat, and their pelts.

A seal mother’s milk can be up to 50% fat

Seal mother’s milk is rich in fat, which provides a healthy nutrition for their babies who can put on up to 5 pounds per day. Therefore, they are a perfect meal for their predators.

Mothers and babies recognize each other’s voices

A study in Alaska shows that mothers and babies seals recognize the calls that are unique only to them. There was a case of a mother and a baby seal that found each other after four years, which tells us how intelligent and complicated these animals are. One more time, Mother Nature shows us its perfection.

Their gestation period is 11 months

Seals resting on a rock

The baby seals are not in a hurry to meet the world at all. They stay in their mother’s womb up to 11 months, and there is one specific case of pregnancy when the baby seal was born after 16 months.

Females live longer than males

Seals in the wilderness live up to 30 years and the females always live longer than males, unless they are hunted.

Seals are adorable animals with cool personalities, and we must do everything to protect them. Wearing a seal coat doesn’t make you unique. Respect seals, and good luck!

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