Characteristics Species and Habitat of Seals
Seals are found around the world, there are 33 known species of these marine mammals. They enter a category of animals known as the pinniped, due to the fact that they have fins on their limbs. Depending on the seal species, there is a big difference between the sizes, the larger ones can be about 16 feet long and the smallest of just about four feet in length.
Many researchers believe there were many species of seals that became extinct in the past, yet there is still a lot of information to collect in that field. One of the most common types of seals is the grey seal. There are more of them than any other, and their number continues to increase annually, however, many other species of seals are in danger of extinction.
There are many reasons the fall in the number of seals worldwide. A very important one occurred in 1988, a type of distemper virus that spread rapidly among these animals and resulted in the death of 1/3 of all common seals residing in the North Sea.
Seals are very intelligent animals, and have been used in a variety of conservation programs like those of Sea World. However, it is very important to understand that they are still wild animals. They have been known to bite and attack human beings who get too close. This is because of their natural instinct to protect themselves, their offspring and their surroundings.
They look like tender creatures, with their bodies and little brown heads. They are mammals, due to the fact that they breastfeed their cubs with milk until they are old enough to feed themselves. They are warm-blooded too, so they depend on their layers of fat to keep the heat when needed.
Some think that seals are lazy creatures because they can often be seen basking in the sun, Inns on the rocks, however, they are very busy when they are in the water, which is most of the time. When they are on Earth for a longer period of time it means they are raising, about to give birth, or moving. If you are not familiar with it, it is the skin desquamation process, this is done once a year for seals.
It may take up to six weeks for the moult period to be completed, often very noisy, irritable, and agitated during this period of time. The investigators once believed this was because it was painful, but that is not the case. Instead, it is now believed to be due to higher hormonal levels. Seals also do not feed during this period of time, they have enough fat to survive comfortably.
They are very curious, so they will follow the boats to see what is happening aboard them. This is a great way for people on these boats to see seals closely in their natural environment.
We have a lot to learn about seals as a whole, you can also find out a lot about individual species. Take a look, whether on the Internet, in books or at animal conservation sites to find out everything you can about these charismatic animals, you will not be disappointed by the vast amount of information that can be found regarding seals.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about seals.
How big are the seals?
When they are born, the common seal calves weigh approximately 12.8 kg (18-26 lbs) and measure about 70-100 cm (28-40 inches) in length. Young people grow rapidly, and adult males can measure up to 1.9 meters (6 feet 3 inches) long and can weigh up to 170 kg (370 lbs). The adult females are slightly smaller, reaching 1.7 meters (5 feet 7 inches) long and weighing up to 130 kg (290 lbs).
What do the seals eat?
Common seals feed on a variety of shoals of fish, including herring, mackerel, and flounder. Their big teeth allow them to catch their prey, which they then swallow whole.
How long can the seals stay underwater?
Common seals usually dive for only a few minutes, but the longest dive recorded by a port seal or common seal was 31 minutes long.
Why do seals look on rocks?
Seals can be found on rocks during low tide to rest and absorb the warmth of the sun.
Are the seals protected?
Yes. All seals are protected by the Marine Mammal Act of 1972, which was promulgated to protect and administer marine mammals, such as whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and sea lions.