Seals

By: Meryl Bush and
Bailey Lynn




The Arctic sea has five different kinds of seals, harp seals, ringed seals, bearded seals, ribbon seals and hooded seals.

Wedell seals are known because they are so gentle. Wedell seals can dive to hunt for fish at depths up to 200 to 400 meters. The female is a little smaller than the male. The elephant seal male weighs as much as 6000 pounds and the female weighs as much as 4000 pounds a newborn baby weighs 100 pounds. The front flipper of a seal is smaller than the back and has five webbed toe. Elephant seals have a extra layer of fat called blubber which is to keep them warm in the ice cold temperatures of the Arctic and Antarctic regions. And the seals body is like a torpedo. Seals rarely ever come out of the water. Harp seals pups are covered by white fur while adults are covered by black markings on their back and have a sleek black head unusually black and silvery back and shoulders. Seals sometimes swim in schools. When they dive they can stay under water for up to nine hours. They also close their eyes when they dive. The sea lion are adapted for movement on land as well as water. The winged like front flippers have bone stretcher is similar to are hands. Swimming with these flippers webbed like a ducks foot propel the sea lion forward, while the hind flipper steer. Both sets of flippers enable a sea lion to walk on land.

The Weddell seal lives around the coast of Antarctica. It is used to the solid ice and is not comfortable in the drifting ice. It lives under the ice and comes up to breathe at holes in the ice which it makes by chewing holes in the ice. The Harp seals which live in the Arctic sea. The temperature gets only 1.8 degrees Celsius when the air can get much colder.

The seal's diet is cod, squid, clams, salmon, flounder, smelt, herring, anchovies and octopus. The Crabeater seal uses its trident which are sharp teeth used to sort out Krill from the sea water. All seals are carnivores some larger seals eat animals like penguins. Seals do not have to drink because they get water they need from their food and sea water which is swallowed with the food. A Leopard seals huge head and it's mouth is lined with sharp teeth. The leopard seal eats other baby seals but it's main food is krill, fish and squid but some hunt penguins. They lie under the ice and wait for a penguin to jump in to eat. The penguins are not safe on either land or water because leopard seals can climb up on the ice. They are very picky eaters. They could easily crunch a penguin but they prefer to shake them violently so that pieces of meat fall off and the skeleton is left with nothing on it. The killer whale is one of the seal's main predators. To catch krill, leopard seals open their mouth and they drain out all of the water from the sea.

Seals breed from May to July. The two Weddell seals swim or walk around each other calling to each other. The cows mate many times over a period of a few days with different bulls. The bull lies on the back of the cow grabbing the scruff of her neck with his teeth and placing his flippers around her middle. He thrusts his penis into her vagina putting a sperm at the entrance of her womb. One of sperms joins with an egg inside the female and fertilizes it. Then the fertilized egg turns into a baby seals inside the mother. The seal grows inside cow's womb well protected and fed through the umbilical cord. The cow is pregnant for about eleven months. The actual birth is only a few seconds. Some seals especially sealions, fur seals and elephant seals breed in huge colonies called rookeries.

Pups sleep a lot and when they aren't asleep there nursing when the pup is two. There weight at birth is 22 pounds. They are 3 feet. There born with there eyes open. The pup can not swim until it is at least 1 week old. Even though all the pups look alike the cow or mother all ways Knows which one is hers. Three hours later the mother slides with the herd down the ice and back. When the pup sees the grown seals going to nurse it pushes away if the pup is not hers. The seals milk is the richest in the world. From drinking a cows milk a pup can grow to be 65 lbs when it is only 2 weeks old. The Harp pup can hide under snow because their fur is white so that the predators can't find them. Unlike the cow and bull the pup has no fat or blubber so their fur is what keeps them warm if an enemy comes they will tuck their heads under their bodies. When the pups are two weeks old they are weaned from their mother. The mother will not care for them or nurse them. They return to the sea. The pup only needs to hunt rarely for it's first few months because the milk that the mother produced gives them enough fat to survive. The molting starts when the seal is less than two weeks old. When it has developed a thick layer of blubber the pup will rub against the ice. When the pup first starts to swim it is not good swimmers. They splash against the water. They have not eaten for days and are very active and much skinnier.

The Harp seals are made up of three distinct herds. The Central heard, Eastern heard and western heard. The harp seals gather together to migrate north. The elephant seal migrates from California coasts to Alaska traveling more than 2000 miles.

Monk seals are among the rarest seals in the world. There fewer than 500 Mediterranean monk seals and 1,500 Hawaiian monk. The Caribbean monk seal is extinct.

CRABEATER SEALS The Crabbeater seals has the biggest population of seals in the world, about 15 to 30 million Crabeater seals are estimated to exist in the Antarctic. Despite their name Crabbeater seals mostly eat krill, a diet which is mainly small fish and squid. Their teeth grow in rows, and upper and lower teeth interlock like a stringer, which makes it possible to spit out water wile they keep their food inside their mouth. Crabbeater seals are mainly seen on coast but they spend most of their time on pack ice.

Ross Seal Ross seals are rarely seen, because they live deep with in the consolidated pack ice. This has made studying this species very difficult, but it is believed that Ross Seals feed mainly on squid and, to a lesser extent, fish and krill. They were named after the British polar explorer Sir James Ross, who fist discovered them in 1840.

Antarctic Fur Seal The Antarctic fur seal live in the southern shelterland, South Orkney and the south Sandwich Islands. The males grow to be 7 feet (2m) in lenth. Their wieght is 220 pounds (100kg), While the females aremutch smaller. Fur seals can be quite aggressive and it is wise to give them a wide berth especially in the mating season. This sepieces was decimated in the ninthtith century by british and American sealers who pursued them for their skins. Within four years of their discovery in 1819 over 320,000 pelts were taken from the South Shetland Islands. Today the fur seals are making a rapid comeback and are reguarly seen farther and farther south on the Antarctic peninsula.

SOUTHERN ELEPHANT SEAL Although the southern elephant seal does not breed in Antarctica, young males do come ashore at vairias places along the continent. They are the biggest of the Antarctic speecees. the most notisable feeture on the maler is their inflatable proboscis, perticuly prominent in the "Hererm Bulls" (the main breeding males). these seals come the mounths of December, January and Febuary, when they lie aroundweeks at a time in muddy depressions called Wallows. Elephant seals feed mostly on fish and sqid. Some 600,000 to 700,000 southern elephent sealsinhabit in the Southern Ocean.

LEOPARD SEAL The most ferocious seal in the Antarctic is the leopard seal. The leopard seal can often be seen crushing the vicinity of penguin colineas, hunting for their main source of food. Their sharp teeth are well adapted for tearing apart penguin flesh, although they also hunt fish, squid and krill. Lepard seals catch penguins by their feet and then beet them back and fourth on the surfas of the water to skin them. Msles grow up to 10 feet long and wiegh up to 770 pounds. It has been calculated that there about 220,000 lepard seals around the Antarctic.

WEDDELL SEALS These seals are most likely to be seen close to the contain as they hold haul on to the ice at tied cracks, or beside breathing holes which they keep free of ice with there teeth. They are the most southern mammal in the world and can dive to great deepths-1,000 to 1,300 feet(300 to 400 meters). Staying submerged for fivteen minutes. There large eyes help them in the gloomy depths. With thier smiling whiskered face, Weddell seals are the most "appealing" of all the Antarctic seals.


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