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Fun Facts on Seals

Most seals live in the arctics and survive because they have a layer of thick fat called blubber. Seals and sea lions live their lives in the water but come on land to bask in the sun. They come up during the breeding season and like the deep sea water. It provides those fish and keeps them alive and healthy. Seals live in places where any disturbances are minimal. They like islands and rocky shores close to food sources. They also like sandbars. They can feed in the cold open waters so that they have a variety of fish. Harbour seals belong to the order of Pinnipedia which includes seals, sea lions and walruses. Seals are different then sea lions in a number of ways including having shorter, stouter flippers and no visible ear flaps.

Seal pups are born in spring and summer and enter the water immediately! Sexual maturity in seals happens at 3-6 for females and 3-7 for males. The name Phoca Vitulina is the scientific name for the harbour seal and means, “sea calf” or “sea dog.” It is because they resemble a dog when their heads pop up above the water. A group of seals is called a herd or pod. Seals have torpedo shaped bodies and short paddle like limbs and thick layers of blubber that insulates their organs. Harbour seals have larger eyes for good underwater vision. A mucous membrane continually washes their eyes in order to protect them. However, their vision on land is not that great. They do not have color vision. However, there have been mothers and pups found that were blind and they had adapted just fine. Seals rely on their whiskers to locate food in deep dark waters. Mothers identify the pups the same way.

Seals can dive to depths of 1700 feet! Seals hearing are extremely developed but their taste is not. Their average life span is 20-25 years. Adult seals eat molluscs, squid, herring, flounder, salmon etc. They can consume five to six percent of their body weight. They have threats from fishing nets and packing materials. They sometimes eat plastic materials which can cause starvation and obstructions in their digestive tracts. Seals are one of the best swimmers in the world because of their flippers and fins that make them glide through the water at a fast speed. Seals can swim underwater for 40 minutes or more.

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