Life of Sea | Seal | Seals are found in all waters of the world. They are often found in Arctic and Antarctic seas, but also in the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and Hawaiian waters. They belong to the order Pinnipedia, which means "fin-footed". Pinnipeds have four flippers - one pair in front, and a few in the back. There are three different families in the Pinnipeadia group. Phocidae (true seals), Otaridae (fur seals and sea lions) and Odobenidae (walruses). Seals which evolved from land mammals evolved smooth bodies, ideal for gliding through the water.
Seals are mammals. They are warm blooded, give live birth, nurse their young, breathe air, and his hair. Because they live in the marine environment and find their food at sea, they are called mammals. Other marine mammals including whales and sea otters. Eared seals (sea lions and fur seals) have external ear flaps and are able to use their flippers to walk on the land by turning their hind flippers forward. While swimming, they use their front flippers for power.
True seals have no external ear flaps and can not rotate their hind flippers. On land, they pull themselves forward by their flippers while their hind flippers are dragged behind them. While swimming, they use their hind flippers for power. All seals are carnivores. Their diet consists mainly of fish, crustaceans and shellfish. Depending on season and availability, they will feed on other prey. Contrary to popular belief, seals are not at the top of the marine food chain. Orcas eat seals.
Seals are protected from the cold by a thick layer of mud, combined with a thick fur coat. Seals use their coarse, sensitive and ever-growing whiskers to find food. The seal wipes his upper lip up and down, using their whiskers to detect fish in troubled waters. Seals have large, round eyes, which are able to focus both above and under water.Seals have an excellent sense of smell, allowing them to detect predators. Females also use their smell to recognize their pups. While swimming, the nostrils remain firmly closed. Seals hear very well both above and below water. Females and pups often call to each other. Seals also growls and grunts underwater, especially during the breeding season.
Seals give birth to one pup at almost exactly one year intervals. They nurse for a short (between 4 days and 1 month), but intense period. Most seals mother to feed during lactation. After weaning her pup, she must regain her weight and her blubber stores to rebuild. The mother returns to sea to feed, while her puppy is left to learn to swim and fish hunting on his own. The pup will be the transition from dependence to independence almost entirely by instinct.
Male seals generally compete for access to females. They usually mate in the few days before the females return to sea after weaning their pups. The embryo will begin to develop, but it stuck in the uterus (called delayed implantation) until the female has rebuilt her blubber stores. The gestation period is approximately 9 months. Seals are able to hold their breath for a long time during the dive, using stored oxygen in the blood and the muscles and lungs. Seals can sleep underwater. They may even surface to breathe without waking.