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Interesting facts about seals

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We found 18 interesting facts about seals

Pinnipeds without ears

Along with sea lions and walruses, seals are classified as pinnipeds - marine mammals that appeared on Earth about 24 million years ago. They share many anatomical features with sea lions, but differ in that they do not have an auricle. Seals are also called true seals, earless seals, or simply sealed seals.

They live in marine environments, and only one species escapes this classification - the Baikal seal, as its name suggests, lives in the freshwater Lake Baikal in Russia.


Seals, animals belonging to the seal family, are carnivorous marine mammals.

There are nineteen species of seals, three of which can be found on Polish beaches.


Seals are cold-loving animals; they live in cold seas and oceans of the polar and temperate zones.

Although they spend most of their time in the water, they also need land to live, so they live in coastal areas.


Depending on the species, the body length of seals can range from 1.17 to even 4.9 meters.

Therefore, their weight is also very diverse: the smallest species weigh about 45 kilograms, and the largest even 2.4 tons.


Their bodies are very streamlined and allow them to swim quickly and agilely.

They usually swim at a speed of about 10 km/h, but in a threat or hunting situation they can accelerate to about 30 km/h. They swim by moving their bodies laterally and rely on their rear fins to give them momentum. The front fins are used for steering.


Although flippers allow them to swim quickly in water, on land seals move slowly and clumsily.

The rear flipper is attached to the pelvic girdle in such a way that the seals cannot point it down and use it for walking.


The smallest seals are ringed seals.

They inhabit the subpolar zones of the Arctic Sea, the coast of Greenland and Spitsbergen. They can also be found in the Baltic Sea (isolated population), where there are about 8 of them. In Poland it is a protected species. The ringed seal's body length is 1.3 meters and its weight does not exceed 110 kilograms.


The largest seal is the southern elephant seal, also known as the southern elephant seal.

It lives in the waters of Antarctica and reaches incredible sizes. The average body length of the southern Mirunga is 4.5 m, and record individuals reached a length of up to 5.8 m. The weight of these giants ranges from 1500 to 3000 kg, and record individuals reach a body weight of up to 3700 kg. They feed mainly on cephalopods and supplement their diet with fish.


Seals don't have ears.


Seals breathe through their lungs, but are adapted to hold their breath for long periods of time. Some species can remain underwater for up to 40 minutes.

Thanks to this, they can dive to significant depths and remain underwater for longer periods of time. During diving, air from the lungs enters the upper parts of the respiratory system, where it is difficult to absorb into the blood, so it is retained longer. This mechanism also protects seals from decompression sickness.


Depending on the species, seals may use different feeding tactics.

Some are filter feeders and feed on krill, others suck small prey into their mouths or grab larger prey and tear its skin. Some species, such as the leopard seal, use all feeding strategies simultaneously.


Unlike sea lions, seals do not bark to communicate.

Instead, they grunt and hit the water with their fins.


Although they live primarily in aquatic environments, seals return to land or ice floes for reproductive purposes.

During pregnancy, females feed very intensively in the water, accumulating fat so that after birth they do not have to return to the water. The accumulated fat reserves allow these animals to feed their young. The only exception here is the harbor seal, which, after giving birth to its pups, returns to the water from time to time to feed - a characteristic feature of sea lions.


While feeding their young, female seals do not eat anything, and sometimes do not even drink.

Typically, feeding areas are located hundreds of kilometers from breeding sites. Seal milk is highly nutritious and rich in fat, allowing the young to feed and grow quickly, and allowing the female to return to her feeding grounds before she dies of hunger and thirst.


Baby seals feed so well on their mother's milk that their mother abandons them before they reach adulthood.

They can survive without food for up to several months, burning off stored fat before being forced to hunt.


The oldest fossil specimens of seals date back to the early Miocene.

These animals appeared about 22 million years ago. Other fossils date back to 15 million years ago and inhabited the North Atlantic.


Until recently, it was believed that seals descended from sea lions and walruses. Recent data seems to contradict this.

According to a new study, seals appear to have descended from a common ancestor, the mammal Enaliarktos, which inhabited the Earth 24-22 million years ago. This animal was a relative of mustelids and bears.


Three species of seals live in the Baltic Sea.

These are: gray seal, common seal and ringed seal. The most numerous species is the gray seal, with a population estimated at approximately 30 individuals. faces. The rarest species is the seal; it is estimated that there are about 1000 representatives of this species living in the Baltic Sea.


The research center where seals are protected and studied is called a silarium.

In Poland there is a herarium at the Marine Station of the Institute of Oceanography of the University of Gdańsk, located in Hel.

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