Life of Sea | True Seal | True seals are a family of nineteen species of marine mammals. Together with the families of Eared seals and Walruses, True seals form the group of marine mammals known as pinnipeds. Alternative names for this family are Earless seals, Crawling seals and Phocid seals. Together this family of seals is broadly distributed along the coastal waters and shores of the seas and oceans. True seals are found in many regions of the earth from pole to pole, and one frequently observed in coastal areas. The Hawaiian monk seal is remarkable for its presence in tropical waters. Before it was extinct, the Caribbean monk seal was also remarkable. The Caspian Seal is notable for its endemic in an inland sea, although two subspecies of the ringed seal, the ringed seal and the Saimaa ringed seal Lagoda similar interior range.
True seals are called earless seals because they lack external ear projections, they have functional inner ears. They have short, coarse hair, usually with a narrow, dense undercoat. Their color and pattern vary with the species, many are spotted. The pups of most species have fluffy coats of a light color. True seals are generally polygamous and cozy, but most do not form harems at breeding time, just like the eared seals. Some species have distinct migrations, but in most of the seals themselves after breeding, singly or in groups, over a large area of the ocean. Some polar species migrate in winter to avoid the advancing ice, members of other species winter under the ice, the surface through the holes to breathe.
While Eared seals are known for speed and maneuverability, True seals are known for efficient, economical movement. This allows most True seals to forage far from land to exploit prey resources, whereas Eared seals are linked to rich upwelling zones close to the breeding grounds. True seals swim by sideways movements of their bodies, using their hind flippers to optimal effect. True seals do not communicate by "barking" like Eared seals. Instead, they communicate by hitting the water and grunting.
True seals spend most of their time at sea, even if they return to land or pack ice to breed and give birth. Pregnant female spend long periods at sea foraging, building up fat reserves, and then return to the breeding of their stored energy to nurse pups. Harbor seals gives a reproductive strategy similar to that of Eared seals in which the mother makes short foraging trips between nursing attacks Because a True seals mother's feeding grounds are often hundreds of miles from the incubator, she quickly while breastfeeding. This combination of fasting with lactation, the mother of large amounts of energy to give her puppy at a time when they do not eat (and often, not to drink.) Mothers have their own metabolic needs while nursing.
The puppy's diet is so high in calories, fat builds up a store. Before the puppy is ready to feed, the mother leaves the pup and consumes its own fat for weeks or months, while it matures. True seals, like all mammals, need time to develop the oxygen stores, swimming muscles and neural pathways necessary for effective diving and foraging. True seals babies usually do not eat food and drink no water during the period, although some species eat polar snow. The postweaning fast ranges from two weeks to 9-12 weeks in hooded seals in the northern elephant seal. The physiological and behavioral adaptations that allow phocid pups to these remarkable fasts, which are among the longest for a mammal treaties, another area of active study and research.